Issue #7



Annandale High School’s

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003


Informing the Atoms since 1954

Wed., April 28, 2021 Vol. 66 Issue #7


Read about how

students are

celebrating Ramadan

this year and all the

traditions that go

along with it.







Staff Writer

AHS is now offering late buses to all students on Thursdays. No prior sign up is required. This is intended to offer additional academic support after school.

FCPS ramps up capacity

Students offered in-person instruction four days a week as new normal sets in


Co-Editor in Chief

FCPS and AHS have found success.

The hybrid model has been working

well since the introduction of the plan

on March 2.

“Hybrid learning is a refreshing

change compared to virtual learning. In

elective classes it is definitely awesome

to be back as so much is hands on,”

senior Madison Cruz said. “It is much

easier to learn in person since there

are less distractions. Overall my hybrid

experience has been enjoyable so far.”

Covid-19 vaccinations are increasing

and now anybody 16 years or older

is eligible for the vaccine. Covid regulations

are also becoming less strict,

including a social distancing decrease

from six feet to three feet.

This allowed FCPS to start offering

students who were currently going

into the building in the hybrid model,

to attend in-person learning four days a

week. Students who chose this option,

started attending in-person, four days a

week on April 20.

“I feel seniors being able to attend

in person four days a week is a great

opportunity for the consistency of learning,”

Cruz said. “Seniors have missed

so much over the past year that this

opportunity is something I am looking

forward to.”

Along with the four day in-person

schedule, late busses have also been

offered. Every Thursday afternoon any

student will be able to take the late

busses and no sign up is needed. This

was added because several subject

areas are hosting an after-school help

center each Thursday after school.

“I’m more comfortable with the plan

now than I was originally. A few more

of my students are now attending inperson

all week, which gives me and

my team-teacher more time to work

with them on an individual and focused

basis,” English teacher Sasha Duran

said. “Some of our students sometimes

go missing

or ‘ghost’ during

class, so now that

some of those students

are back in

the building, it’s a

lot easier to support

them and get

them ready to pass

our class. There’s

significantly less


Teachers have

had to adapt with

the hybrid model

to accommodate

the needs of virtual

and in-person

students. As the

number of in-person students increase,

teaching styles will start to go back to


“At first it was a little awkward,

and it’s still not perfect, but I’m getting

used to splitting my attention between

the screen and my physical classroom.

For the classes where I have more students

in-person, the balance is getting

a lot easier because I might have eight

students in person and ten online, close

to a 50/50 split—for those classes, I feel

“We have

shown that

we can

return our

students and

staff to our

buildings in a way that is

safe and steady.”

strongly that I need to address both

groups equally,” Duran said. “For the

classes where I have one or two students

in a room and the other 20 plus

online, it’s a little harder. That said,

when we have work time in class, it’s

a lot easier to chat with the students

in person, check on their progress, and

make connections like before the pandemic,

no matter if I have one or eight

students in a


FCPS has

announced that

schools will be

returning to five

days a week, inperson


in the fall.

They are trying to

return to a sense

of normalcy as the

majority of students

work better

with in-person


FCPS Superintendent


“We have

shown that we can

return our students

and staff to our buildings in a

way that is safe and steady. We are

confident that we can deliver on a fiveday

return for all students in the fall,

knowing that, while we can adapt to

any situation, in-person learning really

is the best option for our students

and staff,” FCPS Superintendent Scott

Brabrand said.

FCPS second quarter data indicated

that middle and high school grades

have improved overall from the first

quarter data. First quarter data showed

that over 11% of middle and high school

students had an F in two or more classes.

“I think it makes sense because so

many of us will be vaccinated and looking

forward to returning to our regular

activities like clubs and our fundraisers

for prom,” junior Eleanor Lauderdale

said. “I know the performing arts classes

will really benefit from the rehearsal

time. I just hope some protection protocols

will be in place, like an emphasis

on hygiene and recommending if not

requiring masks when inside.”

Many students have grown too comfortable

with the four day week schedule.

The addition of Monday as an asynchronous

day allows many to catch up

on work and have less stress.

“I’ve really liked the 4 day schedule

as it gives kids an extra day to work on

school work so they can feel more comfortable

relaxing on the weekend which

really helps reduce stress,” junior Zack

Pacak said.

Returning in the fall will all depend

on the summer. The CDC projects that

Covid cases will likely start to decrease

in the coming months.

“I feel less nervous about it than

when the plan was announced, but I’m

still somewhat nervous. I think I’ll feel

more comfortable with having a classroom

full of students in the fall if the

FDA approves vaccinations for students

younger than 16. I would still hope that

there’s still a mask requirement and a

desk-spacing regulation,” Duran said.


The United States Department

of Agriculture announced that they

will extend free lunches to all students

across the country for the

2021-2022 school year.

For the 2020-21 school year, the

USDA introduced Child Nutrition

Program waivers, in an attempt to

allow counties and schools to fill the

needs of their families. These waivers

are vital in the time of COVID,

as it brings financial struggle to

many families.

In March, the USDA announced

that these waivers would only be

available until Sept. 30, which left

many families worried whether they

would be able to provide food for

their children.

Now that the USDA has

approved to extend these waivers

to all students for the entire school

year, many families feel relieved.

“USDA answered the call to

help America’s schools and childcare

institutions serve high quality

meals while being responsive to

their local needs as children safely

return to their regular routines,”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

said. “This action also increases the

reimbursement rate to school meal

operators so they can serve healthy

foods to our kids. It’s a win-win for

kids, parents and schools.”

These waivers will allow students

to eat outside of normal meal

time in order to ensure everyone’s

needs are met. This also allows for

curbside pickup of meals that will

last many days for students who are

learning virtually and even for them

to be dropped off to the students’

homes if needed.

The waivers are important during

this time of struggle to help

combat food insecurity. Many families

struggle to provide enough food

for their families to be happy and


“It provides an equal opportunity

to all students regardless of family

income,” junior Zack Pacak said.

“Whatever their situation may be,

they will have an opportunity to get

a lunch that will help them continue

to focus throughout the day.”

These waivers will also help

counties and schools as they are preparing

for the school year. They can

plan for their budget, as well as not

have to rush to get all the forms in

for free and reduced lunch.

As families prepare for the next

school year, providing food will be

less of a worry with this plan.

Graduation ceremony adjusts for Covid

Despite limited attendance and uncertainty, this graduation hopes to promise a memorable time


Webmaster, Social Media Manager

Caps and gowns glowing bright red

to the crowd within the bleachers, cords

swinging back and forth with the wind

and smiles growing large behind masks

as names are called through the stadium’s


This is the vision for this year’s inperson

graduation ceremony in spite of

the many challenges that have arisen

due to the pandemic.

Following Governor Ralph

Northam’s updated guidance for inperson

graduation ceremonies, indoor

and outdoor social gatherings and public

health and space restrictions, AHS

delivered the official news that a graduation

event would be held for the

seniors on Tues., June 1 at 9 a.m. on

the stadium field.

“While it is not going to look the

same as it did in past years, I am happy

that we are able to offer something,”

said Jeffrey Smith, an English teacher

and member of the graduation committee.

Last year, unfortunately, the class

of 2020 was unable to reconvene at

an in-person ceremony and celebrate

what they had achieved because of the

abrupt end to their final school year in


“When I learned that we were having

a virtual graduation, it wasn’t surprising

as everything had already shut

down,” said Megan Le, a Class of 2020

alumna that now attends the University

of Virginia. “It was something I had

to accept, even though it did hurt knowing

that I never got the chance to say

goodbye to some people.”

A year later with updated logistics

and guidelines, the current seniors welcome

this valuable event with open


“I’m very excited to have an in-person

graduation, especially since my last

year of high school was spent at home,”

senior Haleluya Worku said. “Even

though I’m sad the ceremony won’t be

at Constitution Hall, I’m thankful that

we have this opportunity to celebrate

our success with our friends and family.”

Senior Nadiya Khalif expresses just

as much gratitude.

“Considering the fact that I’m graduating,

I’m more than grateful for any

event that celebrates the accomplishments

of me and my fellow seniors,”

Khalif said. “Although a sense of normalcy

has faded throughout 2020 and

2021, this in-person graduation ceremony

is somewhat of an effort to


regain such normalcy.”

Teachers are equally happy, especially

since a majority of them have

taught some seniors for several years.

“I am so excited for our seniors that

they get to experience graduation inperson,”

Art Teacher Carmen Lucas

said. “This year’s graduating class had

a rough start. I think the in-person

experience will be a great positive to

look back on.”

Despite such excitement, seniors

and teachers must abide by several

restrictions in order to ensure the safest

ceremony possible.

Each senior, for

example, will only

be issued two tickets

to the ceremony for

their family members

and friends. Without a

Masks will

now have to be a

part of each senior’s

graduation outfit. “I

don’t think it’ll be much of a problem

for me. I’m fine with wearing a mask,”

Worku said. “The only thing is that

when we accept our diplomas, no one

will see any of our smiles.”

doubt, the policy makes for some hard

decisions and leaves many feeling disappointed.

“I am really bummed about not

being able to bring more than two

guests,” senior Jimmy Le said. “Some of

my friends go to other schools, and they,

as well as my grandparents, are really

important to me. Unfortunately, they

will not be able to see me graduate like

I had always imagined.”

Regardless, many understand and

reiterate the importance of such a precaution.

“While I know the limit on tickets

might upset some students, I understand

that it was done for safety and in

order to allow the whole class the opportunity

to graduate together,” English

teacher Julia Hanneman said.

“We have to remember that

we are still in a pandemic

and need to protect


Not only

will many relatives


friends be

forced to

view graduation







essential to the running of the ceremony

will also have to do the same.

Even if she cannot volunteer for

the ceremony, for instance, Lucas still

intends on watching it online from a

safe distance and cheering her heart

out when she hears her students’


“As much as I would love to be a

part of [graduation] in a traditional

way, this is a year of backup plans and

improvising,” Lucas said. “I know I’ll be

heartbroken if I miss out on it altogether.

This class of students were all freshmen

my first year at AHS, so this is my

group of kids that I’ve watched grow up

all four years.”

Everything, of course, is not set in

stone for the ceremony. Every Monday,

the graduation committee conferences

about updated conditions and

any possible changes that can be made.

The committee, too, still meets to finalize

plans for how long the ceremony will

actually last and who will speak during


“Our big thing is that we want to

give the senior class the best send-off

that we can, considering the circumstances

and considering that we want

to make sure that we are being safe,”

Smith said. “The most important thing

that we’ve learned from this year is that

we have to be flexible and know how to

change things on the fly if we need to.”

With graduation a little more than a

month away, seniors are encouraged to

stay hopeful and make the most of it.

“Whatever the good happens to be,

cherish it,” said Isabel Pho, a Class

of 2020 alumna that now attends

Brigham Young University. “Don’t let

any negative circumstances tarnish the

value of that good. Let good things be




don’t want

to take finals


Editorials Editor

The best part of the school year

is the end of it. Almost every student

looks forward to the end of the school

year and the beginning of summer


By the time June comes around,

students are done with SOL’s and

teachers ease up on assigning work.

But, one obstacle to all that is final


Final exams typically take place

the last week of school, and the school

days are made into half-days to

accommodate for testing.

Last year, due to the pandemic,

finals were canceled. This year, many

students expected final exams to be

canceled. Unfortunately, they were not.

Many students have expressed their

concerns about taking finals amidst the

pandemic because learning virtually

has been a struggle for students.

Although some students feel

unprepared to take their final exams,

FCPS upgraded their grading policy

for the 2020-2021 school year and has

implemented final exam flexibility.

Now, a final can only serve to

improve a student’s grade for the year

or will otherwise not be counted.

There are no signs of exams being

cancelled, but, on the bright side,

exams won’t make much of an impact

with the new policies.

Some teachers will also be offering

final projects in lieu of final exams

which, while still tedious, are a

welcome substitute to dreaded finals.

France’s ban on hijabs is

outrageous and Islamophobic


Editorials Editor

Islamophobia is deeply rooted in

French culture, and it has only gotten

worse as time has gone on.

Muslims first came to France after

they colonized a large portion of North

Africa. Algeria was one of the only

countries that was officially considered

a part of France.

Algerians were free to live in

France, but they were soon faced with


France’s Islamophobic rhetorics

have fueled the hate for Muslim people

all across Europe and other countries

as well. In 2019, Brenton Tarrant

killed 51 Muslims at two New Zealand


He wrote a manifesto in which he

talked about how he heard that France

was being invaded by nonwhites,

so he took a trip to see for himself.

The manifesto was titled “The Great

Replacement,” a reference to the title

of a 2012 book by right-wing French

polemicist Renaud Camus.

France has also been known to turn

away Syrian refugees and other asylum

seekers. They also have been trying to

legalize more Islamophobic legislation.

Recently, the media had turned into

a frenzy after the French Senate voted

to ban hijabs for girls under the age of

18. Many were infuriated at the fact

Wed., April 28, 2021

Stop debating guns, just get rid of them


Editorials Editor

Since the world has slowly begun

returning to normal, gun violence has

been at an all time high.

Over the course of the pandemic,

gun violence didn’t disappear nor

decrease. In fact, 2020 had faced a

record high of 610 mass shootings.

The extreme gun violence wasn’t as

talked about due to the fact that the

pandemic had taken over everyone’s


Now that it’s finally coming to an

end, people are starting to draw their

attention back to the gun violence that

never disappeared.

Since the start of 2021, there

that the age to consent to sex is now

lower than the age of consent to the


The age to consent to sex in France

is 15 years old.

Muslim American Representative

Ilhan Omar took to social media to

post a video of herself wearing her

hijab and used the viral hashtag


“It’s sad to see

people that

look like me

being stripped

away from

their rights.”



The hashtag was created by

American Muslim women to support

the Muslim women in France.

“It’s sad to see people that look like

me being stripped away from their

rights. It is so wrong that they’re trying

to ban hijabs and it shows just how

Islamophobic France is,” junior Ugasa

Ali said. “I can’t imagine not being able

to practice my religion freely, and I’m

grateful to live in a place where I don’t

have to worry about these kinds of


These discriminatory policies allow

have been over 150 mass shootings in

America. There have been at least 45

mass shootings in the month of April


Gun violence in America runs much

deeper than just mass shootings. Mass

shootings gain the most attention from

the media, but unfortunately it’s just

the tip of the iceberg.

Mass shootings make up a mere

1% of all the gun violence that occurs in

the U.S.

On average, over 35,000 people

die every year from gun violence in


According to Everytown Research,

60 percent of these deaths are caused

by suicide, 36 percent are caused by

homicide and police shootings, and

unintentional and undetermined deaths

people around the world to believe that

Islamophobia is acceptable.

France’s secular beliefs are the

main reason Muslim people are being


The French government claims that

they do not favor any one religion and

guarantee their peaceful co-existence in

respect of the laws and principles of the


Clearly, this is not the case.

The Islamophobia in France is

beyond the hijab. The government also

wants to make the halal slaughtering

of chickens illegal. They also are trying

to force halal grocery stores to sell

alcohol and pork and they want to ban

mothers wearing headscarves from

accompanying children on school field


The French government wants to

have control over Muslim people, and

the only way they can do that is by

oppressing them.

France needs to stop trying to mask

their incessant Islamophobia with the

separation of church and state. People

constantly say that Muslim countries

enforce the hijab, but the unfortunate

reality is that Western countries are

trying to force women to take it off.

The government needs to stop

policing Muslim women on what they

can or cannot wear. What’s more, other

countries like the U.S. that claim they

support religious freedom must speak

out against France.


are each 1 percent of the gun related

deaths that take place every year.

With the recent mass shootings

in Atlanta, Boulder, Indianapolis

and Evanston, the Biden-Harris

Administration is pushing for Congress

to pass legislation to reduce gun


“Too many people have died

because of gun violence and it’s the

government’s fault because they have

yet to take action and pass gun reform

laws,” junior Niyat Ghiorghis said. “It’s

crazy to think that there are still people

that are trying to justify the use of guns

even though thousands of people are

dying at the hands of them every year.”

The administration has

implemented a few actions to help

lower the deaths that are a direct result

of gun violence. President Biden plans

to nominate David Chapman to serve

as a Director of the Bureau of Alcohol,

Tobacco and Firearms, which is an

agency that enforces gun laws.

The Justice Department also plans

to issue two rules. One to stop the

proliferation of “ghost guns” which

are firearms assembled with no serial

numbers and the other is to crack down

on stabilizing braces that are used to

turn pistols into a short barreled rifle.

Despite these efforts, no huge

changes can be made unless Congress

pushes for gun reform.

Biden’s plans are a step in the right

direction, but more needs to be done

in order to prevent more deaths from


The U.S. has one of the highest

rates of gun violence compared to other


This should be a sign to the federal

government that there needs to be

major gun reform in the U.S.

Gun violence is preventable, but

lawmakers are refusing to acknowledge

that guns are the reason hundreds of

people are dying everyday.

“Too many people have died and

the federal government has not done

anything about it,” junior Tsion Abate

said. “As a teenager, I shouldn’t have

to be afraid of getting hurt everytime

I leave my house, but I can’t help it

because I see people getting hurt on the

news every single day.”

If the government really wants to

decrease the violence going on, they

need to start pushing for gun reform.

There is no excuse for needing to have

a gun.

People want to be able to go to the

movie theatre, to school, to FedEx, to

Walmart, to the grocery story without

having to think about getting shot.

Changes need to be made now.

Timeline of Islamophobia in France


1905: France becomes secular

In 1905, the French government wrote in

a law that separated Church and State.

It is called laïcité. This law is still being

used today, and France has used it as

justification to strip Muslim women from

their right to wearing religious head


1989: Courts reject proposal

to ban hijbas in school

The French government made its first attempt

to ban school girls from wearing religious

headcoverings. It shortly was rejected by the


2004: Secular schools

The law on the “secular character of schools”

was one of the first major exclusions of Islam.

The law prohibited students from wearing any

“conspicuous” religious signs, specifically

hijabs. Yet, prime minister Edouard Balladur,

told France’s Jewish representative body that

the law would not effect students wearing the


March 30, 2021: French

Senate votes to ban hijab

The French Senate voted to ban the hijab for

girls that are under the age of 18. They have

also banned accompanying mothers from

wearing the hijab in schools. The legislation

must go through the national assembly before

being approved.




Khadija Ahmed

Adam Shawish


Jamileh Hamadeh


Khadija Ahmed

Adam Shawish


Fatima Sayed Eltayeb


Henry Hoang

Erik Rivas-Martinez


Evan Burita

Alex Burita


Tyler Plank


Elena Leopold

Vivian Phan


Uyen Huynh


Maram Ibrahim

Insaf Bouzana


Thonny Anwar



Mia Antezana


Maureen Hunt


Ryan Lam


Khadija Ahmed

Adam Shawish


Ryan Lam


Rylie Zimmerman


Leon Arceo

Leen Alawneh

Limia Bahar

Rym Benouna

Nareg Boghosian

Lilli Dalrymple

Sereene Darwiesh

Daniela Dosen

Mary Endalkachew

Rudy Flores

Tyler Foti

Shane Gomez

Emily Ha

Sydney Long

Eldana Mengitsu

Andrew Nields

Wendy Raymundo

David Sewall

Abdul Siddique


Alan Weintraut

Annandale High School

Vol 66. Issue No. 7

4700 Medford Dr.

Annandale, VA 22003

The A-Blast is

an award-winning

newspaper that strives

to inform, educate and

entertain the student

body and community.

Published monthly,

The A-Blast will not

print any material

that is obscene or

libelous; or that which

substantially disrupts

the school day, or invades

an individual’s right to

privacy. The A-Blast is an

independent, open forum

for discussion that is

printed at the Springfield

Plant of The Washington


Signed letters to the

editor of 250 words or

less may be emailed to or

submitted to room 262 or

mailed to the school. The

A-Blast reserves the right

to refuse advertisements.

All submissions become

property of The A-Blast,

Copyright, 2021.

Follow The




Lock him up and throw away the key

can face up to 40 years in jail for Floyd’s murder.

A16-year-olds and above can get vaccines





Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last Tuesday

for the murder of George Floyd. Over the summer, protests broke out

after a video of him kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, which

ultimately resulted in his death, spread across the news and internet.

Floyd’s murder triggered the re-examination of racism and police brutality

in the U.S. Chauvin was found guilty of third-degree murder, seconddegree

manslaughter and second-degree unintentional murder. Chauvin

Virginia has expanded on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to allow for people

who are 16 years old and above can get the vaccine. As of now, the only

vaccine authorized for this age group is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Virginia entered phase two of vaccinations on Sun., April 18. People

looking to get vaccinated can no longer register on the Fairfax County

website. To schedule an appointment, you have to schedule it through Younger people becoming eligible for the vaccine will

make returning to school much safer and easier.

Caitlyn Jenner is doing what?

Last Friday, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner announced that she would

be running to be the Governor of California. She hopes to replace current

governor Gavin Newsom. People are annoyed with Jenner as they argue

that she has no experience in politics and has no business running for

the election. This is similar to how, in 2016, Kanye West announced

that he would be running for president in 2020. Many took to Twitter to

announce that they would not be voting for Jenner considering her lack of

political experience.

Bryant killed by police

A 16-year-old girl was shot by police in Columbus, Ohio last week within

minutes of the verdict of Derek Chauvin’s case. In the video released by

officials, Ma’Khia Bryant is seen charging at two girls with a knife. The

police shot Bryant four times. The video has led to outrage with many

saying that Bryant didn’t deserve to die, and that the officer shouldn’t have

used lethal force. There have been reports that Bryant was the one who

called the police because she was afraid for her life. There haven’t been any

major updates yet, but an investigation has been launched.

Wed., April 28, 2021 NOTICIAS DESTACADAS 3



En la foto que acompaña este articulo, el hombre que es mayor de edad esta siendo vacunado encontra el COVID-19 para un ensayo clinico que pruenbe la seguridiad de injectar vacunas desarrollado por la NIH y

la empresa de biotecnología Moderna es seguro y eficaz. Los resultados impactaran las vidas de muchas personas y ayudaran a combatir esta pandemia.


Escritor del personel

En Diciembre de 2020, México fue el

primer país en América Latina en recibir

una vacuna de COVID-19.

Recibido por avión, un embarque de

Pfizer y BioNTech llegó al país.

Las primeras vacunas fueron a

Saltillo, Coahuila para unos trabajadores

de salud.

México haciendo los primeros pasos,

la vacuna llegaría a Argentina y finalmente

la mayoría de países en América


Después de tres meses desde el primer

embarque de vacunas a América

Latina, millones de personas han recibido

sus vacunas.

Según Our World Data, Brasil es el

país América Latina que ha administrado

las más vacunas de COVID-19, con

casi 25 millones de dosis.

Aunque siendo el primer país en

América Latina en vacunas de COVID-

19 cada día las situación se pone peor en


A mediados de Diciembre, el gobierno

de Brasil decidió cancelar la ayuda

financiera de 84 euros por mes.

A resultado de esta decisión muchos

brasileños estaban forzados a salir y

buscar trabajo.

Debido a la gran población en Brasil,

muchos de los ciudadanos viven en favelas

que normalmente consiste en 100

mil de los más pobres junto con otros.

Además con la falta de ayuda financiera,

el gobierno no está educando a los

ciudadanos de los extremos de COVID-

19 y formas para mantenerse seguro y


Tristemente, la situación se ve que

no va mejorar, debido a que más de un

millón de brasileños no están regresando

por su segunda vacuna de Sinovac


Según el sitio de noticias Al Jazeera,

Brasil es el segundo país con más

muertes de COVID-19 con más de

380,000 muertes.

Países en América Latina están pasando

el problema de recibir pequeñas

órdenes de la vacuna.

Muchos de los cuales han planeado

recibir millones de dosis, pero con la

subida de nuevos casos y nuevas variantes

de COVID-19 han retrasado la

distribución de vacunas.

“Nadie está recibiendo la vacuna.

Solo los ricos lo están obteniendo,” Mario

Alberto un estudiante en Jalisco dijo.

Alberto vive en un pueblo llamado

Mazamitla, donde el único hospital principal

queda a tres horas de distancia

. Y en ciudades donde sí están recibiendo,

gente está esperando en filas por

horas en el sol.

Según el noticiero AP, un hombre de

84 años murió de un infarto esperando

tres horas por su vacuna en Coahuila,


Vecindarios ricos han visto recibir

sus vacunas rápidamente y sin problema,

aunque siguen rumores que están

pagando por la vacuna.

Además debido a México aprobando

más de seis diferentes marcas de

COVID-19 vacunas, el país ha visto

vecindarios ricos recibiendo la vacuna

Pfizer y vecindarios más pobres recibiendo

vacunas de China.

Humanos de Annandale

Señor Centeno-Monroy

especisalista de


¿Por qué elegiste esta profesión?

Reflexioné profundamente sobre mis propias

experiencias educativas como joven en el sistema

de escuelas públicas y reconocí que había

mucho trabajo por hacer y muchos cambios

necesarios. En última instancia, quería ser el

adulto que necesitaba cuando era un niño en

la escuela.

¿Un consejo que le gustaría a los estudiantes que se postulan a universidades

y se preparan para el futuro?

Mucha gente no termina en una carrera basada en su especialidad, o muchas

veces, cambiamos de carrera con mucha facilidad, así que busca lo que realmente

te haga feliz y te apasione y sácale el máximo provecho. ¡Haz lo que sea mejor

para ti!

¿Cómo ha sido tu trayectoria profesional?

No me comprometí completamente con la educación hasta mi último año de universidad.

Sopesé mis opciones y pude encontrar un puesto de profesor en Las

Vegas y he trabajado en educación desde entonces. Cuando no estoy trabajando

con estudiantes, estoy trabajando con artistas de todo tipo en la comunidad, específicamente

en música y arte.

¿Qué es lo que más espera experimentar aquí?

Conectando con estudiantes del área de mi ciudad natal. La mayor parte de

mi carrera ha sido en Las Vegas, así que estoy muy emocionado de volver a las

raíces de mi ciudad natal y crear un cambio aquí.

¿Qué impactos duraderos quieres dejar en la escuela?

Solo espero que me recuerden como la persona que ayudó a todos los que buscaron

mi guía y apoyo. Estoy aquí para servir y espero hacer el mejor trabajo que


Why is this page translated in Spanish?

This section was created with the intention of expanding our reach as a publication

towards the growing population of Spanish-speaking students. As one of the most

diverse schools in Fairfax County, Spanish has become the second most spoken language

at our school, accompanied with an extensive ESOL (English for Speakers of

Other Languages) program.

The goal of The A-Blast is to inform and entertain the largest possible group of

readers. Las Noticias Destacadas is a collection of articles of relevant news affecting

the hispanic community, written in Spanish. We hope that this section will allow the

A-Blast to be a more inclusive and diverse newspaper.

“Pienso que es inutil que los países

estén usando una gran variedad de vacunas,

porque todos no tienen la misma

eficiencia” senior Mario Benavides dijo.

“A lo largo el país se terminan hiriendo

a sí mismos por no usar las mejores vacunas.

Según AS/COA, las vacunas ofrecidas

al público en países de América

Latina varían en eficacia.

Vacunas hechos en EE. UU. como

Pfizer y Moderna tienen un porcentaje

de eficacia alrededor de 91%. Vacunas

como Sinovax hechos en China tienen

un porcentaje de 51%.

Sin embargo la clase alta de América

Latina también están teniendo dificultad

obteniendo la vacuna.

Políticos, atletas profesionales y

celebridades han estado viajando a

EE.UU. para recibir la vacuna.

Uno de ellos siendo Hernando De

Soto un político postulando para la presidencia

en Perú

“Es definitivamente comprensivo

porque cualquier latinoamericano desea

viajar a gran distancia para protegerse

de este mortal virus” senior Alejandro

Erazo dijo, “Sin embargo las vacunas

encontradas en EE.UU. son para ciudadanos

americanos, residentes, e inmigrantes

indocumentados en EE.UU.


Erazo tiene familia en Perú donde la

vacuna de COVID-19 ha mostrado una

distribución muy retrasado.

Empezando a administrar vacunas

a inicios de Febrero, Perú todavía solo

está vacunando gente de 60-70 años de


Con los recursos limitados, la gente

está tomando ventaja de este dilema.

En April 21, personas en México

pagaron 1000 dólares por una vacuna

falsa que fue marcada como vacunas


Alrededor de 80 personas tomaron la

vacuna, lo cual no ha reportado heridas.

Aunque, México fue el primer país en

América Latina en recibir vacunas contra

el COVID-19, sólo 2% de la población

han sido completamente vacunados.

El país con más vacunados siendo

Chile con 29% de su población completamente


El Presidente de Chile Sebastián

Piñera ha estado muy activo, ordenado

una cantidad de vacunas más grande

que la población.

Chile ha recibido 10 millones de Pfizer

y 10 millones de Sinovac mientras

Chile solo tiene una población de 19 millones.

Además, el gobierno ha confirmado

que el país recibirá 60 millones de Sinovac

durante tres años.

Argentina es otro país que tiene un

acuerdo de recibir un gran envío de 60

millones de la vacuna rusa, Sputnik V.

“Paises solo deben de recibir un

poquito más que su población y dejar la

vacunas para países que necesitan más

ayuda y más cantidades de la vacuna,”

Benavides dijo.

Viendo los obstáculos que están ocurriendo

en otros países Chile donó 20,000

dosis de Sinovac a Ecuador y Paraguay.

Es importante que en este momento

en tiempo muchos tengan paciencia.

Dejar a los que tengan permiso recibir la

vacuna. Además recibir la dosis requerida.

Usted fue vacunado?

• Se considera que las personas

están completamente


• dos semanas después de su

segunda dosis en una serie de 2

dosis, como las vacunas Pfizer o

Moderna, o

• dos semanas después de una

vacuna de dosis única, como la

vacuna Janssen de Johnson &


• Si no cumple con estos

requisitos, NO está

completamente vacunado.

• Siga tomando todas las

precauciones hasta que esté

completamente vacunado.

Cosas que se pueden

hacer despues de

recibir la vacuna

• Visite el interior de un

hogar o entorno privado sin

máscara con otras personas

completamente vacunadas de

cualquier edad

• Visita dentro de un hogar o

entorno privado sin máscara

con un hogar de personas no

vacunadas que no corren riesgo

de contraer una enfermedad


• Viajar a nivel nacional sin una

prueba previa o posterior al


• Viajar a nivel nacional sin

poner en cuarentena después

del viaje

• Viajar internacionalmente

sin una prueba previa al viaje

según el destino

• Viajar internacionalmente sin

poner en cuarentena después

del viaje

Cosas que no son

permitidias aunque

tenga la vacuna

• Visitar el interior, sin máscara,

con personas con mayor riesgo

de enfermedad grave por


• Asiste a reuniones medianas o


The Brief Dive: el podcast de

un estudiante

De la anciedad a la

ira, el nuevo podcast

“The Brief Dive” lo

cubre todo


Editora del personnel

En las últimas décadas, la discusión

sobre la salud mental, especialmente en

lo que respecta a los adolescentes, se ha

expandido y abierto enormemente.

Hay más recursos disponibles para

aquellos que necesitan ayuda con su

salud mental, ya sea ayuda profesional

o recursos que le permiten conectarse

y hablar con otras personas que pueden

estar pasando por lo mismo.

El estudiante de segundo año de

Annandale, Filimon Meaza, quería

unirse a esta discusión crucial y decidió

comenzar su propio podcast centrado en

la salud mental de los adolescentes llamado

The Brief Dive.

“Comencé este podcast porque

quería encontrar una manera de ayudar

a los adolescentes de secundaria

que necesitan algún tipo de idea de lo

que están pasando emocional y mentalmente”,

dijo Meaza.

Para muchos adolescentes como

Meaza, el tema de la salud mental es un

tema muy prominente y frecuente sobre

el que las personas siempre intentan

informarse más.

“La salud mental es algo que me

apasiona”, dijo Meaza. “Me encanta

expresar mis conocimientos de psicología

y me gustaría compartirlos con

los demás”.

Aunque existen muchos métodos

para formar parte de esta discusión

sobre salud mental, Meaza finalmente

se decidió por crear un podcast.

“Durante estos tiempos de incertidumbre,

encontré que el podcasting era

el mejor medio para compartir mi conocimiento

con otros y ayudar a los adolescentes

como un recurso complementario

mientras todos están en casa”, dijo



Con su podcast, Meaza espera ayudar

a los oyentes con respecto a su salud

mental y brindarles un espacio para que

comprendan mejor el tema en su conjunto.

“Espero motivar a otros e iluminarlos

con mis palabras y conocimientos”,

dijo Meaza.

“No quiero que nadie de mi edad

pase por la vida confundido por lo que

está pasando mentalmente y espero que

mi podcast ayude a todos a saber que no

están solos”.

Con su búsqueda de este podcast,

Meaza reconoce que no es un terapeuta

o un profesional con licencia en el tema,

pero espera que, además de ayudar a las

personas a comprender la salud mental,

espera animar a los oyentes a buscar

ayuda profesional si es necesario.

“Como no profesional, mi objetivo

es lograr la mayor cantidad posible

de oyentes que necesiten ayuda”, dijo

Meaza. “Para que puedan obtener información

adicional sobre la salud mental

desde la perspectiva de los adolescentes

e influir en ellos para que busquen


Cuando se trata de crear los episodios

de su podcast, Meaza pasa por un

extenso proceso de planificación para

asegurarse de que sus episodios salgan

bien y sean satisfactorios para sus oyentes.

“Creo un esquema de todas mis ideas

de episodios a desarrollar y luego, a

partir de ahí, selecciono los que me gustaría

grabar para el mes”, dijo Meaza.

“Para cada idea que se me ocurre,

planeo un guión y preparo algunas

notas de investigación”.

Luego, Meaza graba, edita y publica

el episodio.

En este momento, Meaza no planea

tener invitados en su podcast, pero espera

hablar y compartir sus ideas como

invitado en otros podcasts en el futuro.

Mientras Meaza continúa creando

episodios para su podcast, tiene varios

objetivos en mente que quiere completar.

“Mi objetivo para este podcast es

ayudar a las personas a convertirse en

la mejor versión de sí mismas y obtener

la mayor cantidad de oyentes posible

con mi conocimiento y experiencia personal”.

Junto con esos objetivos, viene el

mensaje definitivo de Meaza que espera

que los oyentes puedan aprender de

cada episodio de su podcast.

“La salud mental no es un tema fácil

de aclarar”, dijo Meaza. “Me gustaría

facilitar que los adolescentes se abran a

los demás y busquen ayuda”.

Si está interesado en aprender y

escuchar más sobre la salud mental,

The Brief Dive está disponible en Spotify,

la aplicación iHeart Radio y Apple

Podcasts con nuevos episodios todos los


4 NEWS Wed., April 28, 2021

News Briefs

Broadway Desserts A


The annual concert was held

virtually on Fri., April 23. The

event featured performances from

all five AHS choirs. In addition to

group and individual acts, there

were also some audience favorites

from earlier years included.

A recording of the complete

performance can be viewed on the

Annandale High School Choirs

YouTube channel.

Senior T-Shirt Pick Up

Seniors can pick up their free

T-shirts on Mon., May 3 from noon

to 2 p.m. Those driving to pick up

can receive theirs through their car

windows by driving to Doorway #1

at the front of the school. Walked

can pick up their T-shirts at the

same location. Only those who

filled out the Google Form to place

an order in March are eligible to

receive a T-shirt.

Teacher Appreciation


Teacher Appreciation Week is

Mon., May 3 to Fri., May 7. The

PTSA is requesting donations of $5

gift cards, to any establishment of

one’s choice, from now until May 3.

These gift cards will be offered to

teachers as a gesture of support for

all their hard work and flexibility in

this tumultuous year.

SOLs Underway

The Reading SOL will be held on

Mon., May 10, and the Biology,

Chemistry and Geosystems SOLs

will be held on Mon., May 17.

Previously, the Geometry and

Algebra 2 SOLs were held on Mon.,

April 26. The SOLs are being

held in the school building while

maintaining social distancing


Catch Up Days

Tues., May 11 and Wed., May 12

will serve as catch up days for the

Fourth Quarter. On these days,

classes will be asynchronous to

allow students to complete any

missing work.

Final Exams

Senior final exams will take place

from Wed., May 19 to Tues., May

25. Underclassmen final exams

will take place from Fri., June 4 to

Thurs., June 10. Following that, the

last day of school will be a two-hour

early release day on Fri., June 11.

Grab and Go Meals

Available to All Students

FCPS is offering free healthy

meals to all students until June

30, 2021. Meals are available at

school sites and along bus routes.

The specific schedule can be found

online. Breakfast and lunch meals

are offered for pickup at the same

time Mondays through Fridays,

excluding holidays. Meals for

Saturday and Sunday are offered

for pickup every Friday.

Students begin getting vaccinated

For many, being

fully vaccinated

means a new

beginning to come


Co-Editor in Chief

On April 18, all Virginians ages 16

and older became eligible to receive the

Covid-19 vaccine.

Many students rushed to register

for an appointment as soon as possible,

eager for the chance to be able to finally

do the things they’ve been putting

on hold since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I had to sit there for a while and

refresh the page. I had to make multiple

accounts on Walgreens and Giant,”

senior Anjum Ashraf said. “I am excited

to be vaccinated and see my friends

again and go back to some sense of normalcy.”

Other students got vaccinated earlier,

either because of their status as an

essential worker or because of a health

condition, or both.

“I qualified for a vaccination in January

because I work in person in D.C.

and am in an immunocompromised

state,” senior Zainab Islam said.

Most students will have received

the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since it’s

been cleared for those ages 16 and older

while Moderna and Johnson and Johnson

have been cleared only for those

ages 18 and older.

Some were nervous about the physical

experience of getting vaccinated.

“I have a low pain tolerance so I was

a bit afraid of getting the shot at first,”

senior and Academics Editor Thonny

Anwar said. “It ended up being nothing.

I turned my head for a second and

it was over.”

Most seem to be in consensus that

the first dose

of the vaccine

comes with some

mild symptoms.

“I had soreness

around the

vaccination site

and a fever for

two days,” Islam


The second

dose is where

students start to experience more

severe symptoms.

“I had a really high fever and a

headache that lasted about five days,”

Islam said.

Those who have only received the

first dose so far may be feeling a bit of

anxiety about what’s to come in the second


“I am worried about the pain I will

experience after because I have heard

the second shot is worse,” Anwar said.

However, the CDC states that experiencing


symptoms after

getting vaccinated

is to be

expected and

nothing to worry

about. If these

symptoms persist,

one should

contact their primary

care physician.

Those still looking to register to get

vaccinated can scan the QR code to go

to where they can find

clinics, pharmacies, and other locations

offering the vaccine.

The website also allows users to sort

by which vaccine(s) they want to receive

and the search radius can be either 1, 5,

10, 25 or 50 miles.

If vaccine appointments are still not

showing up, it’s a good idea to directly

check the websites of pharmacies like

Walgreens, CVS and Safeway.

Being fully vaccinated carries the

promise of a summer with some semblance

of normal after more than a year

of isolation and virtual instruction.

“The colleges I’m leaning toward

have decided to be fully in person next

semester so unless a strong variant

emerges between now and fall, I feel

pretty safe going to class in person,”

Islam said.

But, before that, seniors are hoping

for one last hurrah.

“I’ll be fully vaccinated by June 1, so

I’m excited for graduation and to have

a good time with all my friends,” Ashraf


Senior and Managing Editor Jamie Hamadeh, senior Eva Gomez, senior Han Le, senior Haleluya Worku, junior and Editorials Editor Fatima Sayed and senior and Co-Editor

in Chief Khadija Ahmed show off their vaccination cards or bandages, having all begun the Covid-19 vaccination process.

Students and staff debate D.C. statehood


Staff Writer

D.C. continues to make a push for

statehood. On April 22, the House

of Representatives passed a bill that

would officially grant statehood to the

District of Columbia. The bill passed

with a vote of 216-208, and will now

have to obtain a 60% majority in

the Senate to move forward to the

President and be signed into law.

The push for D.C. to become the

51st state has been discussed before,

however, this is just the second time

the bill has been passed through the

House and will reach the Senate floor.

Scan the

QR code to

check vaccine

availability and

register for an


“D.C. becoming a state would

include addressing racial inequities and

expand voting rights, both of which are

extremely important,” sophomore Ellie

Davis said.

The District currently has an

estimated population of over 700,000

people, more than states like Wyoming

and Vermont. While also paying more

federal taxes than 21 other U.S. states.

This bill would be a huge boost to

the Democratic party moving forward

in National Elections. In the 2020

Presidential election, Democratic

candidate Joe Biden gained over 90% of

the total votes, compared to Republican

nominee Donald Trump’s 5%.

“This shouldn’t be a political debate

in my opinion, D.C. pays money in

taxes, a significant amount more

than some other states, yet they have

no representation in Congress. To

me, that feels like taxation without

representation, and that isn’t fair at

all,” sophomore Kaleia Cook said.

The bill has been heavily criticized

by Republicans, as it passed through

the House of Representatives without

gaining a single Republican vote. A

main concern for conservatives has

been the overwhelming amount of

democratic support in D.C., and that

this will become an automatic two

Senate seats for Democrats in the


The bill was shot down in the Senate

This survey was

launched on Instagram,

and responses were

collected on April 25

to 26. A total of 139

responses were collected

with 70 respondents

saying that they received

at least one dose of the

Covid-19 vaccine and 69

saying that they had not.

in 2020, and will need to overcome

huge odds to pass through this time

around. Due to the filibuster in place,

60 out of 100 votes is required to pass

the legislation, and with a 50-50 tie

in the Senate between Republicans

and Democrats, the bill is unlikely to

pass considering no Republicans in the

House voted for the bill.

“The creation of new states in

America has always been a very

politically charged issue. I believe that

everyone in a country should have

a legitimate and equal vote in their

legislatures,” government teacher

Matthew O’Neill said.

The timeline for the Senate voting

on the bill is unknown.

Wed., April 28, 2021

Where are our seniors going to college?

Justin Scott

Q: What college will you be

attending next year?

A: I picked Bridgewater College in

Bridgewater, Virginia because it wasn’t

too far from home and the campus is

nice. I also chose it because I will be

playing soccer there, and I really liked

the coach.

Kalkedan Malefia

Q: What college will you be

attending next year?

A: I chose George Mason University

in Fairfax, Virginia because they gave

me a really good scholarship. COVID

was also a big factor in my decision.

With the world being so unpredictable,

I wanted to stay close to home and


Q: What will you major in and

how did you learn more about this


A: I plan to major in Health and

Exercise Science to become a physical

therapist. I learned about Bridgewater

from Annandale alumni who attend

the school. Coach Bagot also graduated

from Bridgewater.

Q: What will you major in and

how did you learn more about this


A: I plan to major in Sociology. I’ve

always known about George Mason

since it’s really close to Annandale, and

I have been on a couple of field trips

there. I also did stalk the school a little

on their website and social media.

Q: What advice do you have for

people applying to college next


A: My advice is make sure you apply to

at least five to ten schools. Keep your

options open and make sure the school

is a place you can enjoy for the next four

years as well as somewhere where you

can further your education.

Q: What advice do you have for

people applying to college next


A: I highly recommend taking a college

prep class like AVID during your senior

year or utilizing Annandale’s career

center. Don’t be afraid to reach out for

help or ask questions, the resources are

there for you.


Talkin' with



Academics Editor

Dear Thonny,

I have a serious problem with

one of my friends. They seem

to only call me when they need

to copy my school work. Unless

they need answers to homework,

classwork, or even a test, they

never seem to think about me. I

don’t know what to do. I am getting

a bit annoyed with them, but I

don’t want to be mean. I also like to

believe I am a really good student

and it makes me feel bad when I

let people copy me because it feels

dishonest. How do I deal with my



Not a copycat

Dear Not a copycat,

Orlando Torres

Q: What college will you be

attending next year?

A: I picked Wilson College located in

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania mainly

for athletics, but after visiting the

school, I had realized that it had a

welcoming community and was the

perfect size for me.

Marlon Soriano

Q: What college will you be

attending next year?

A: The school I picked to go to next

year is the Advanced Technology

Institute in Norfolk, Virginia. I chose

this school because it’s one of the best

schools to learn about cars. Also, the

place is located somewhere I love which

is the beach.

Salma Nagila

Q: What college will you be

attending next year?

A: Next year, I will be attending

Radford University in Radford,

Virginia. I absolutely fell in love with

the campus. The new equipment they

have in their chemistry lab really

pulled me closer to them because I am a

science major.

Q: How did you learn more about

this school?

A: Due to everything that’s going on

with our planet currently, I plan to

major in Environmental Science. I had

learned more about this school through

talking to the head coach of the baseball

team. He told me everything I needed

to know.

Lizzie Earhart

Q: What college will you be

attending next year?

A: I picked Northern Virginia

Community College in Annandale,

Virginia in order to help me save

money. I will be transferring to JMU

because they offer an extremely wide

variety of psychology classes that will

help me earn my degree.

Q: How did you learn more about

this school?

A: I learned about this school from my

Auto Tech teacher Mr. Maniatakas.

The school also came in to do a

presentation, and I was amazed with

their programs. It’s how I got to learn

about my major which is Automotive


Q: How did you learn more about

this school?

A: I plan to major in biochemistry with

a minor in pre-med. I learned more

about Radford through emails and

friends. I started attending open house

meetings on Zoom and talking one on

one with the director of the chemistry

department there.

Q: What advice do you have for

people applying to college next


A: Some advice I have for people

applying to school next year is to get all

your requirements complete and have

good grades. Don’t think senior year

doesn’t matter: it’s quite important to

certain colleges.

Q: How did you learn more about

this school?

A: I plan to major in Psychology for

undergrad but when I get to graduate

school, I will be going for Industrial/

Organizational Psychology. I learned

more about both of these school options

just by doing research and talking to


Q: What advice do you have for

people applying to college next


A: The advice I have for underclassmen

is that you have to take your time on

choosing where to go after high school.

Know what you love to do and stick

with it.

Q: What advice do you have for

people applying to college next


A: My advice is don’t pick a school

based off of their name; pick a school

that does very well in your major. Also,

visit the campus if you’re able to so you

can get a feel of what it’s like there.

Q: What advice do you have for

people applying to college next


A: I think the best advice I can give

someone who is applying to college

would be to do a lot of research. Make

sure you don’t rush this decision and

make this decision for you and not

based on what someone else wants.

I’m sorry you’re going through this.

It’s hurtful knowing that one of your

friends is using you and that they don’t

actually want to be a real friend, but I

have an easy solution for you.

Grow a backbone and speak your

mind. Don’t let your friend steal your

hard work and pass it off as their own.

If you really want to be a good student,

then stop them from continuing this

way. It will only hurt them in the long


Don’t think of yourself as being

mean. Remember they are responsible

for their own learning and grades, not


Education is so much more than

memorizing and solving a problem

on a piece of paper. I know it may not

seem like it, but everything we learn in

school is necessary for life. If your friend

doesn’t learn and pay attention now,

they’re going to have to later on in life if

they want to make a living.

By letting them copy you, you

are letting them piggyback off your

hard work. Maybe instead of giving

them answers, you could help them

understand the material. Maybe even

tell them how copying just lowers their

chances for success. If they are really

your friends, they will understand that

you are just trying to help them.

The cycle of copying that you are

helping them create won’t end now. It

will probably continue on when they

go off to college. It’s probably going to

become a character trait of theirs.

Furthermore, by continuing to let

your friends copy, you are putting

yourself at risk. Once you get caught

and lose your teachers’ trust, it will be

hard to restore it.

Also, it’s okay to put yourself first.

It’s also unfair for you to be constantly

helping this person when they’re not

offering you anything in return.

Friendship isn’t transactional, but

it’s a red flag when you’re constantly

doing things for that person and they’re

not there for you when you need them

to be.

Stop your friend from copying you

and push them to achieve something

by putting a little effort in. I assure you

they will thank you for helping them

feel more accomplished.




TJ Hutnan takes a swing at IB


Staff Writer

Q: What is your favorite IB subject?

A: My favorite IB subject was definitely TOK

because Mr. Kelly was such a great teacher and

the class was very interesting.



Ramadan Edition

Q: What clubs are you in?

A: I’m not currently in any clubs, but I was in

MHS my junior year before COVID hit. It was

pretty fun to attempt the challenging math

problems they had.

Q: What made you decide to do the IB


A: I chose to do the IB diploma because I honestly

wanted a challenge. I wanted to challenge myself

and see what I was able to accomplish in order to

prepare myself for college.

Q: What skills do you

think the IB program

has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: A major skill I have

learned is to NOT

procrastinate at all. I have

IB Spotlight:

Profiles of



been able to manage my time very well and still

have enough time to hang with my friends

Q: How have your friends and family

supported you this year?

A: My friends and family have been there for me

whenever I need help. They have given me useful

advice on how to approach certain things.

Q: How are you spending your time now

that IB exams are cancelled?

A: I have just been sitting back and chilling. I

haven’t been doing anything at all really.

Q: What colleges have you applied to/plan to


A: I’ve applied and been accepted to Virginia

Tech. I chose Virginia Tech because when I

visited, I had a very memorable time with

some friends there and I really loved the school


Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

A: In ten years, I hope to see myself doing a job

I love and enjoy. I also hope I am making major


Hutnan warms up and practices his throwing and

swinging during a baseball green day at AHS.

Q: What lasting impact do you want to

leave on this school?

A: I hope to show the school that any regular

person can put in the effort to achieve many

things and do things they might not expect

themselves to normally do. Basically, open

yourself to new things and embrace them

because you might find something you like out

of it.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB


A: All I have to say to future IB candidates is

to space out your work, but make sure you do

it because I know firsthand the stress of the

amount of work that can pile up in only a couple

of days.


1. Principal DeRose is providing everyone in the senior

class with pakora to help celebrate Ramadan. One box

of pakora contains 48. There are 384 students in your

grade. How many boxes of pakora does he need to purchase?

What literary devices are used in the phrases


2. I’m so excited for Eid I could just die.

3. My baby sister is an angel during Ramadan.

4. A grocery store gets a shipment of somosas to sell during

the month of Ramadan. An employee lifts a load of

samosas by pulling the rope of a pulley system. What

force is applied by the employee to lift the samosa load?

6. What month is the ninth one on the Islamic calendar?

7. Who started Ramadan?

8. What is the name of the pre-dawn meal that Muslims

eat during Ramadan?

1) 8; 2) Hyperbole; 3) Metaphor; 4) Muscular; 6) Ramadan; 7) Prophet Muhammad; 8) Suhoor

6 IN-DEPTH Wed., April 28, 2021 Wed., April 28, 2021



The Great

Outdoors with

the Gomezes

The map features 30 parks with free admission, selected by senior Eva

Gomez, freshman Shane Gomez and their family. They have visited these

places and determined them to be worth the trip. The locations have been

listed in ascending order of distance from Annandale High School.

1. Ossian Hall Park

2. Backlick Park

3. Hidden Oaks Nature Center

Map Key


Senior Eva Gomez and her

brother, freshman Shane Gomez,

take a break after hiking down

by the Potomac River at Turkey

Run Park (#22 on the map). “It

was an adventure! There were a

lot of rocks you had to scramble

over and we even had to jump

over a creek,” Eva Gomez said.

“We got lost, but we managed to

find our way back and that just

made everything more exciting.

There were also a lot of pretty

wildflowers, so I felt like an elf.”

4. Mason District Park

5. Wakefield Forest

6. Holmes Run Stream Valley Park

7. Canterbury Woods Park

8. Rose Lane Park

9. Roundtree Park

10. Green Spring Gardens

Freshman Shane Gomez went to

the National Arboretum (#28 on

the map) with his family for his

birthday. “There is a really wide

variety of different places and

things you can do, all contained

in the park,” Shane Gomez said.

“They have these really cool

pillars I liked because I hadn’t

seen anything like that before.

They’re from the Capitol, so that’s


11. Eakin Park

12. Brookfield Park

13. Lake Accotink Park

14. Long Branch Nature Center & Park

15. Hidden Pond Nature Center

16. South Run Park

17. Huntsman Park

18. Burke Lake Park

19. Jones Point Park

20. Huntley Meadows Park

Senior Eva Gomez discovered her love

for parks through her mother, Rachel

Gomez, who worked at Green Spring

Gardens (#10 on the map). “I’ve gone

there since I was little and I loved

helping out,” Eva Gomez said. “It’s

what got me interested in working at

parks. Now, I want to be a park ranger

when I grow up.” Her mother shares

this sentiment. “Green Spring is a

hidden gem off busy Braddock Road.

It’s peaceful and beautiful with ponds,

hidden gardens and a woodland trail,”

Rachel Gomez said.

21. Bull Run Marina

Scan the QR

code to access

the customized

map and get

directions to all

these places!


22. Turkey Run Park

23. National Mall

24. Pohick Bay Regional Park

25. Riverbend Park

26. Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

27. Mason Neck State Park

28. United States National Arboretum

29. Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve

30. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Another favorite of the Gomezes

is the Bull Run Marina (#21 on

the map). There are many paths

that contain stunning views. “It

feels very secluded from the

outside world and really special,”

Eva Gomez said. “I recommend

you go during the winter when

the leaves are gone because the

views are spectacular.” For those

interested in history, it is also

located near Manassas National

Battlefield where the Battle of

Bull Run took place.

Cancel your weekend plans, go here instead

Holmes Run Stream Valley Park (#6)

This park features five river crossings, many meandering

paths and a nature center. One particular path contains a lot

of nature, including some very pretty wildflowers. There are

many different grassy areas to sit and take in the scenery.

Also, the main paths are paved, so it’s great for biking. You

might even come across some ducks in the stream.

3437 Charleson St, Annandale, VA 22003

Open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through

Lake Accotink Park (#13)

Lake Acotink has a lake and marina. During the spring

and summer, there is boating available as well as carousel,

mini golf. There are many paths to walk alongside the lake

and take in the water. There are offshoots from the path that

lead to the lake if you want a better view. If you’re lucky, you

may come across geese, herons, and even a bald eagle’s nest.

7500 Accotink Park Rd, Springfield, VA 22150

Open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. everyday


Rose Lane Park (#8)

Rose Lane is a hidden park surrounded by houses in a

neighborhood. It is also bordered by a creek and has two

paths that can go in either direction. If you follow along far

enough, you get to another park called Roundtree Park (#9

on the map). If you take the other path, it leads to a pool.

Although it starts in a residential area, you gradually enter

more of a full forest.

3584 Terrace Dr, Annandale, VA 22003

No hours available

Huntley Meadows Park (#20)

Huntley Meadows has a variety of things to enjoy and

caters to everyone’s interests. It has wetlands and marshes,

boardwalks, forest walks, observation towers, nature centers

and meadows. They offer programs during the day and night

to explore the park more deeply. They have a lot of different

animals like beavers, muskrats, ducks, herons and various


3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306

Open from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday

How do

you like

to spend

your time




“I like to spend my time

outdoors. I love to ride

my bike, because it’s

fun and makes you feel





“I like hanging out

with my friends, and

it doesn’t really matter

what we’re doing

or where we’re going.

Nature is so beautiful,

and it’s just nice to

enjoy it with them.”



“I like spending my

time outdoors by hanging

out with my friends,

playing football, running

and making

money any chance that

I get.”



“I like to go outdoors

and basically do anything.

Most of the time,

I’m either playing tennis,

going on runs or

going on walks with my

dogs. It helps clear my

mind a lot.”




“I like to just walk

around my neighborhood

while listening to

music and taking pictures

of the trees. It’s

a great way for me to




“I like going on walks

when the weather is

nice out. It’s really

refreshing to just walk

around my neighborhood

and take in everything

around me while

also getting in some




“I like to play basketball

with my friends whenever

I get the chance. I

have also started to go

hiking since the start

of the pandemic with

my friend Steve Kang.

I would recommend is

Billy Goat Trail for anyone





“I like having picnics

with my friends, especially

because of the

pandemic going on. It’s

one of the only ways I

can safely spend time

with them while social


Enjoy the warm weather with these activities


Staff Writer

With summer just around the

corner, there are tons of fun outdoor

activities that you can do with family

and friends! It’s important to get out

and be active, so make sure that you’re

taking advantage of the wonderful

outdoors. Another plus is that you’re

much less likely to be infected with

Covid-19 while outdoors rather than

public areas indoors.


This activity is very active and

a great way to bond with your

friends. It’s a very liberating experience

since you’re going as fast as you can

and the wind is hitting your face while

you’re pedaling. It’s great when you are

able to go as far as you want while also

being able to get some exercise in.

It’s something that people of all ages

can do and there’s no restrictions. This

activity is especially great if you are in

a family with children because they are

also able to participate in this activity.

“I really enjoy going biking with

my older sister because we are able

to spend time together and also get

to destinations which would take us

a lot longer to get to with walking,”

sophomore Ruftana Beyene said.

“Sometimes, it’s a little scary to bike on

the main road, but in general I really

enjoy it.”


Camping is a great way to get

in tune with nature and forget

about all your problems. This is the

ultimate bonding experience since

you’re spending all your time with

whoevers around you.

It’s also a great way to learn new life

skills such as cooking over a fire and

setting up a tent. Bring long socks and

bug spray to protect against ticks.

Camping is an experience like no

other because you’re spending time in

nature, which is hard to do when you

live in a city and spend most of your

time there.

Don’t forget to bring ingredients for

the most fun camping experience of

them all: making s’mores!


Having a picnic is a great

alternative to eating at a

restaurant. You are able to customize

your meals and can make it as big

or small as you want. It is also a

great picture opportunity if you are

interested in photography. It’s a

simple but new experience everyone

should try at least once in their lives.

“My friends and I love to have

picnics because food is a great way

to connect with us,” sophomore Maya

Mann said. “Sometimes it can get a little

hot in the summer, but usually we plan

it on days with nice weather.”

Places like Gravelly Point are great

for picnics with a lot of open area so you

can spread out and socially distance

from others.


This activity is one of the most

adventurous out of them all!

You are essentially walking towards an

unknown destination and using your

own sense of direction while doing so.

If you’re not into camping, then

this is a great alternative since you are

able to leave whenever you finish the

trail and go back home. This is a great

activity to do with friends and family.

Packing snacks for the hike and

being able to enjoy it at the top after

all that walking is an amazing and

fulfilling feeling.

“During the pandemic, my family

and I found a new appreciation for

hiking. It’s a great socially distant

activity, and it’s something that can get

us out of the house,” sophomore Ellie

Davis said. “I love hiking because I’m

able to take my mind off of things and



Food is always a way to bring

your loved ones together, and

a barbecue is the best of both worlds.

You are able to eat delicious food and

simultaneously spend time with your

friends and family. You can also play

sports, such as soccer or volleyball,

since you’re in an open area. Listening

to music and eating delicious food

sounds like the perfect outdoor activity.

Working hard to make your own food

makes it even more delicious once you

finally eat it.

8 PEOPLE Wed., April 28, 2021

From anxiety to

anger, The Brief Dive

covers it all


People Editor

In the past few decades, the

discussion of mental health, especially

pertaining to teenagers, has expanded

and opened up greatly.

More resources are becoming

readily available for those who are in

need of assistance with their mental

health, whether it’s professional help

or resources that allow you to connect

and talk with others who may be going

through the same thing.

Annandale sophomore Filimon

Meaza, wanting to join in on this crucial

discussion, decided to start his own

podcast centered around the mental

health of teenagers called The Brief


“I started this podcast because I

wanted to find a way to help high school

teens out there who need some sort of

idea of what they are going through

emotionally and mentally,” Meaza said.

For many teens like Meaza, the topic

of mental health is a very prominent and

prevalent issue that people are always

trying to further educate themselves


“Mental health is something that

I am very passionate about,” Meaza

said. “I love expressing my psychology

knowledge and would like to share that

with others.”

Although there are many methods

to become a part of this discussion of

mental health, Meaza ultimately settled

upon creating a podcast.

“During these uncertain times I

found podcasting to be the best outlet

to share my knowledge with others and

help teens as a supplementary resource

while everyone is at home,” Meaza said.

With his podcast, Meaza hopes to

help listeners in regards to their mental

health and provide a space for them to

better understand the topic as a whole.

“I hope to motivate others and

enlighten them with my words and

knowledge,” Meaza said

“I don’t want anyone my age to go

through life in confusion of what they

are going through mentally and I hope

that my podcast helps everyone know

that they are not alone.”

With his pursuit of this podcast,

Meaza recognizes that he is not a

licensed therapist or professional on the

topic, but hopes that along with helping

people understand mental health, he

hopes to encourage listeners to pursue

professional help if needed.

“As a non-professional, my goal is to

achieve as many listeners as possible

who need help,” Meaza said. “So that

they can get some supplementary

The Brief Dive: a student’s podcast

insight to teenage perspective mental

health and influence them to reach out

for help.”

When it comes to creating the

episodes of his podcast, Meaza goes

through an extensive planning process

to make sure his episodes come out well

and are satisfactory for his listeners.

“I create an outline of all of my ideas

of episodes to develop and then from

there select the ones that I would like to

record for the month,” Meaza said

“For each idea I come up with, I plan

out a script and put some research notes


Meaza then records, edits and

publishes the episode.

As of right now, Meaza doesn’t plan

to have any guests on his podcast but

hopes to speak and share his insights as

a guest on other podcasts sometime in

the future.

As Meaza continues to create

episodes for his podcast, he has several

goals in mind that he wants to complete.

“My goal for this podcast is to help

people become the best version of

themselves and gain as many listeners

as possible with my knowledge and

personal experience.”

Along with those goals, comes

Meaza’s ultimate message that he hopes

listeners can take away from every

single episode of his podcast.

“Mental health is not an easy subject

to shed light on,” Meaza said. “I would

like to make it easier for teenages to

open up to others and seek help.”

If you are interested in learning and

listening more about mental health, The

Brief Dive is available on Spotify, the

iHeart Radio app and Apple Podcasts

with new episodes every Wednesday.

Q & A: Meet Niko, the new College and Career Specialist

Get to know Annandale’s newest staff member, Niko Centeno-Monroy!

Q: How long have you been working

in this field?

A:This is my 8th year in education.

Q:Where did you work previously?

A: I was a Career Coach at NoVA and

prior to that was the College Access

Program Manager for the Fulfillment

Fund Las Vegas.

Q:Why did you choose this


A: I reflected deeply on my own

educational experiences as a young

person in the public school system and

recognized that there was a lot of work to

do and many changes needed. Ultimately,

I wanted to be the adult I needed when I

was a child going through school.

Q: Favorite part about this field of


A: Seeing my students achieve greatness!

Q: One tip you want students who are

applying to colleges and preparing

for the future to know.

A: A lot of people do not end up in a career

based on their major, or many times, we

change careers very easily, so go for what

truly makes you happy and you have a

passion for and make the best of it. Do

what’s best for you!



Staff Writer

Just like any other year, many

students entered their projects into the

science fair with hopes to advance to the

regional fair. However, this year was

very different.

This year’s science fair was optional

and it was completely virtual. There

was also no class time dedicated to

working on science fair projects.

My group members and I had to plan

everything outside of class without any

strict deadlines to help guide us.

There were a few challenges that

came from having no time in class to

work on the science fair project in class

Q: What has your career path looked


A: I didn’t fully commit to education until

my senior year of college. I weighed my

options and was able to find a teaching

position in Las Vegas and have worked

in education ever since. When I am not

working with students, I am working

with artists of all kinds in the community,

specifically in music and art.

Q: How did you end up at AHS?

A: I was recruited by our very own Principal

DeRose. And also, passing on the chance to

become an Atom? It was too good to pass up

the opportunity!

Q: What are you most looking forward

to experiencing here?

A: Connecting with students from my

hometown area. Most of my career has been

in Las Vegas so I’m really excited to get back

to my hometown roots and create change


Q: How does technology make teaching

more simple or difficult?

A: I think it’s great in that it allows us to

do a lot of neat things in the classroom, as

well as inspire kids to think creatively about

future possibilities. Unfortunately, a lot of

our technology can be really distracting and

easy to fall into the rabbit hole if we aren’t


and us having to present the project


“It was challenging to find a

date to get together and conduct our

experiment, but we pushed through

and persevered,” sophomore Armen

Boghosian said.

Our group had to decide when we

would get together since we couldn’t do

the experiment in school.

We ended up getting together

over winter break to complete the

experiment part of our project.

The title of our project was “The

Effect of the Ratio of Water and Resin

on the Quality and Time of Which the

Resin Cures.” Resin is a material that

is used in 3d printing. In our project,

Q: What is your proudest moment?

A: As an educator - I had a book banned in

my classroom once and one of my classes

refused to accept the ban so they stopped the

class and every single student wrote letters

of dissent. Personally - I’ve completed two

marathons and have recorded and released a

couple of mixtapes.

Q: What lasting impacts do you want to

leave on the school?

A: I just hope I’m remembered as the

person who helped everyone that sought my

guidance and support. I am here to serve and

hope to do the best job I can.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for


A: I hope the students I serve can recognize

and tap into their limitless potential and

achieve all that they want to. High school can

seem so daunting and it can sometimes feel

like if we don’t get it together now our futures

will be a mess, but what is life if it doesn’t

get a little messy? What matters is how you

let the mess affect you and how you navigate

it. Your lives aren’t over if you don’t have it

together now, it’s only beginning, and you’ll

have plenty of time to sort through the mess.

Be patient, be kind to yourself, and always

have faith.

we mixed resin and water and shined a

laser on to the mixture to see how fast

the mixture would harden.

After completing our experiment

and collecting all of our data, we weren’t

given any other instructions about the

next step in the science fair process until

a month later when our teacher told us

that we had to submit a Youtube video

about our experiment to be entered into

the fair. Our group got to work on the

video a day later.

We all worked together and made

a slideshow presentation that included

our projects title, hypothesis, procedure,

materials, qualitative and quantitative

data and our conclusion.

We then recorded ourselves speaking

Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about


A: I went on tour to SXSW once.

Q: Anything else you’d like the Annandale community

to know about you?

A: I’m really looking forward to my future at Annandale!

Come meet and find me in the Career Center!

Centeno-Monroy, a Virginia native has spent time in

Las Vegas as well as New York

Students reflect on this year’s virtual science fair

over our slideshow and then uploaded

the video to Youtube.

“Completing the project wasn’t too

hard because I had two good partners

and we divided the work evenly,”

sophomore Chelsi Lilli said. “The work

wasn’t tedious because it was fun.”

After submitting this video, our

group waited to see if we would advance

to the regional fair. Around three weeks

after we submitted the video, we got an

email saying that our project advanced

to the regional fair.

We were allowed to make minor

changes to our project before we would

partake in the regional science fair.

On March 20 from 8-10 a.m, All

group members were put in a virtual

room where judges would come in and

ask us questions about our project. We

all had to keep our cameras on and

dress in formal attire for the judging.

“The regional science fair was nerve

racking yet interesting,” Boghosian said.

After the regional judging, we all

waited to see where we placed. Around

two weeks later, all group members

got a letter in the mail and we found

out that we placed third in the regional

science fair under the chemistry section.

“The process of completing the

project was cool because we did a topic

that I’ve never worked with before and

I learned a lot through our project,” Lilli




Where were you born?

Arlington, VA


For me, success is defined by being happy

and doing what I want in my life, and I want

to do so much. I really want to travel, get out

of Virginia and see the world. There’s just

so much I haven’t experienced and I think

it’s fascinating to see how people in other

cultures live. I want to know people.

Most people know that I am heavily

involved with the school’s theatre

department. I have been performing since

before I could talk and I always wanted to be

a singer until middle school. In sixth grade I

auditioned for the school play. I didn’t know

what it was about or even anyone in the

room, that didn’t matter to me. I just wanted

to be a part of something. I instantly fell in

love with it.

The sense of community, being on the

stage, memorizing lines; it was all exciting.

So I obviously auditioned for the spring

musical too, little did I know that theatre

would go on to change my life in so many

ways. Theatre brought me more than just

something that I’m passionate about, it

helped me find some of the most incredible

friends, people that I want in my life forever.

I never knew how much people could mean to

me until then.

Though there tends to be drama, we all

love each other in the end and we suffer

Amamnda Weaver


through the long hours of rehearsals together.

I quickly realized theatre was more to me

than just a hobby. Over the last few years I’ve

thought about many things I could go to school

for and pursue as a career, I just couldn’t get

theatre out of my mind. I have this feeling it’s

what I need to do, so I am. I have continued

theatre throughout the pandemic and now I

am looking into colleges with musical theatre

programs to audition for.

The goal is to eventually be on Broadway

but as long as I am somewhat successful that’s

all that matters to me. I’ll just be happy to do

what I love.

What highschool did you go to?

Annandale High School

What colleges/universities have you


Christopher Newport University

What are some of your favorite movie/book/

TV shows?

The Big Bang Theory, Parks & Rec, 10 Things I

Hate About You, Jumanji (basically any form of


What extracurriculars did you participate

in growing up?

Swimming and Marching Band

Any fun fact:

I recently started doing CrossFit

What is your favorite season?


What’s your biggest fear?

Not being successful

Why did you decide to teach?

The teachers I had in high school didn’t

necessarily make the classroom a comfortable

experience for me, so I wanted to change that.

Use a QR

Code scanner

to reveal

Who Am I?

Wed., April 28, 2021


Celebrating Ramadan

in a different light

Muslim students reflect on the changes to

their annual celebration and overall health

Junior Blen Hailu holds up a MeToo sign in support of the #MeToo movement and the men and women who share their experiences with sexual

abuse and assault.

The history behind Sexual

Assault Awareness Month


Staff Writer

April 2021 officially marks the

20th anniversary of Sexual Assault

Awareness and Prevention Month.

The goal for this month is more

than just bringing awareness to the

prevalence of sexual violence, but its

about preventing assault to begin with,

which is a community-wide effort.

“Although this month is focused

on raising awareness, we should

continue to seek the elimination of

sexual violence throughout the year to

guarantee prevention,” sophmore Fatu

Kalokoh said.

Sexual assault is a destructive abuse

of power, one that ruins the lives of

people of every age, gender, and race.

In 2006, Tarana Burke founded the

MeToo movement and began using

her platform to raise awareness on the

severity of sexual abuse and assault in


She coined the term “Me Too” to

provide support to women who had

been abused and developed the hashtag

#MeToo in response to the sexual abuse

allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

The movement was popularized

even more following the accusations

against him from actress Alyssa


Burke also brings up the similarities

between the Black Lives Matter and Me

Too movements, mentioning that they

both revolve around fighting injustice

and an oppressive system.

She notes that similar to how the

deaths of Black men in police custody

garner more attention, survivors of

sexual assault who are Black women

and women of color are not paid as


much attention to.

According to Burke, being a Black

woman means having to deal with

excessive force, the possibility of being

killed by the police, and being sexually

harassed or assaulted by the police.

This overlap of issues is known as

“intersectionality,” a term created by

Kimberlé Crenshaw, that refers to

when multiple forms of oppression

affect an individual at one time.

However, advocating for sexual

assault prevention dates all the way

“I don’t believe

anyone male or

female should

disregard the

problem at hand

because survivors

might feel

their stories aren’t valid enough

to be shared. It’s the sad truth.”



back to the 1940s and civil rights era,

which made way for the prevention

process. Although individuals were

limited in discussion about the reality

behind sexual assault, activists began

fighting for equal rights then as well.

Black women and women of

color originally led the movement, a

prime example being advocate Rosa

Parks, who fought for social change,

particularly racial and gender equality.

Although, considering this

movement began in the civil rights era,

there was practically a division between

women, making it so that there were

separate movements as opposed to one

united front. This was a result of white

women (including survivors) originally

being at the forefront of the movement,

which prevented survivors who were

Black women and women of color from

being taken seriously.

“I don’t believe anyone male or

female should disregard the problem

at hand because survivors might feel

their stories aren’t valid enough to be

shared. It’s the sad truth,” junior Hana

Wasuge said.

Every 73 seconds, an American

is sexually assaulted. About 70

sexual assault survivors (women)

commit suicide every day in the US.

1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have

experienced sexual violence, yet only 5

out of every 1,000 perpetrators will be


“We are responsible to stand up and

educate those around us,” junior Alicia

Kargbo said.

Education is key to sexual

prevention, starting by educating

our community. An important step

while initiating action includes

student activism. The following steps

can increase community change:

beginning discussions with your friends/

classmates, sharing social media

content of stories posted, and last but

not least, both modeling and promoting

bystander intervention skills.

Overall, to ultimately prevent sexual

assault we must take it upon ourselves

by educating others to promote





are you

on this




“I’m a bit educated

on the issue but

don’t keep up a lot.

Sometimes I’ll see

stuff on social though

media and read into




“I would say I am

informed about this

topic to a degreee

considering social

media played a role

in my understanding

of it.”


Staff Writer

As Ramadan takes place, most Muslims, such as myself,

around the world take part in a daily fast. Who is exempt

from fasting? Pregnant/breastfeeding women, anyone with a

medical condition, the elderly, and women on their menstrual


Ramadan is a time where Muslims are obligated to fast

during this holy month from sunrise to sunset. We also

strengthen our relationship with God by reading the Quran

(our holy book) and praying five times a day.

“I have never fasted but I find it very interesting how

determined Muslims are and the amount of self-control they

have during the month. I admire my friends that are able to

observe Ramadan and I think it has a great meaning behind

it,” sophomore Ruftana Beyene said.

“It takes a lot of courage and determination to get through

the entire month without eating or drinking water during the

day and that’s why I look up to my friends who are able to fast

throughout the entire thing.”

The idea of fasting is generally an act of worship to our

creator. Not only do we put ourselves in the place of the less

fortunate when fasting, but we also fulfill one of our five pillars

as Muslims.

Since we are unable to eat all day, many Muslims wake up

before sunrise to eat a meal that will sustain them for the day,

which is called suhoor. At sunset, Muslims traditionally break

their fast with a date because it is a sacred food in Islam.

“I fast every Ramadan and as I’ve gotten older it has

become much easier, but I have some days where it’s hard

to get through the entire thing,” freshman Susana Aburish

said. “The overall result is very important to me because I

love being able to spend time with my family throughout this

month and getting closer to my faith.”

A common assumption made is that fasting is bad for your

health, but studies have proved this wrong. For starters, it

protects you from inflammation, which could potentially cause

heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

Another health benefit of fasting is stabilizing or improving

cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Adjusting your diet

is the number one way to avoid heart disease, which is the

leading cause of death at a whopping 31% global death rate.

A study was done where 110 obese adults fasted for three

weeks, and the results were a significant decrease in their

blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“This year, fasting has been a lot easier for me and I’m able

to do my daily tasks such as going to the gym and completing

the school day without any hardship,” junior Hana Wasuge


“Sometimes it does get a little hard without water and can

cause minor headaches but overall it’s not as hard as I thought

it would be.”

As for mental health, fasting can also prevent neuro

disorders. A study on mice was performed to see the effect it

had on their overall mental and physical health. The results

showed that it improved their brain function and balanced it

with their physical health.

Some scientists have even said that fasting has future

benefits such as eliminating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s


An aspect not commonly discussed regarding fasting is

those doing it with mental illnesses. There is no doubt that

whatever you do affects your mental health, especially those

battling depression and anxiety. However, fasting has shown

very promising and positive effects on mental health.

Throughout Ramadan, there is a heavy emphasis on

charity and abstaining from bad habits such as cursing and

showing anger towards others. Charity does not necessarily

equate to donating money, it can also include cooking for those

in need and helping someone through hardship.

As a result of performing these charitable acts, humans

receive something called endorphins, which is a “feel-good”

brain chemical that enters the brain when completing a

charitable act. This also helps fight loneliness and isolation

since you are actively helping those around you.

Overall, Ramadan is a chance for Muslims to reset

themselves and those around them spiritually, physically, and


Rice Pudding


Health Editor

Samosas are a popular dish eaten in

Southasian and African cuisine, typically during

the holy month of Ramadan. They are made

with dough and filled with meat or potatoes with


Considering samosas are typically oily, an

alternative is air frying or baking them. The

use of vegetables also helps to make the dish



Samosa Dough:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons oil

3/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Samosa Filling:

2 potatoes, medium to large sized

2 tablespoons vegetables

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro







Bring a pot of water to a roiling boil on a

high heat. While that boils, quarter the potatoes.

Once the water has boiled, turn the heat

down to medium, add the potatoes, and cover

with a lid. Cook the potatoes for 20-25 minutes

until a fork inserted goes in smoothly and comes

out clean.


Add the flour, salt, oil to a mixing bowl and mix

using a fork. Afterward, add water and knead

into a ball. Add 1/4 cup of water at a time until

the dough transforms into a neat ball. Dab the rolled

dough with a bit of oil, and set aside for at least 15-20

minutes so the dough can rest while the potatoes are



Begin preparing the samosa filling by draining

the water from the boiled potatoes, removing

the peels, and mashing the potatoes with

a spatula or masher. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

to a medium skillet and turn the stove to medium

heat. Add in the mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, tumeric,

and red chili powder. Stir the spices to evenly coat

the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure to

taste and adjust as necessary. Lastly, add peas and

stir them into the mix for about 30-45 seconds. Turn

off the heat, add a few sprigs of cilantro, and then

transfer to a bowl and set it aside.


Take the kneaded dough and roll it into a long

cylinder. Use a knife to portion the cylinder

into 8-9 smaller pieces, and roll one at a time into a

smooth ball. Dust the ball with some flour, and using

a rolling pin, roll it into a circular shape. Slice the

dough diagonally to get semi-circular pieces, and wet

the straight edge with a bit of water. Form a cone,

making the top wider and open to stuff the filling. Add

2 heaped teaspoons of filling and push it in to evenly

fill out the cone.

This picture represents how the samosas should look after they

are finished cooking.



Health Editor

Rice pudding is also a common dish eaten during

the month of Ramadan. It is made from rice

mixed with milk and other ingredients, including

cinnamon and raisins. The traditional dessert

can be made healtheir by removing the dairy and

replacing it with bananas and rice milk, ensuring

a creamy taste. If the dairy is still desired, but just

a reduced amount, using soy milk and maple syrup

is a good alternative. Along with that, using brown

rice instead of white rice will make the dessert

healthier as well. Another way to make this dessert

healthier is to include fruits or nuts on top.


Rice Pudding

1 cup brown basmati rice

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups plus 1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla rice

milk, divided

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon cornstarch







Combine the rice, water, and salt into a medium

saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the

heat to low, cover and cook until the liquid is fully

absorbed, which will take about 45 to 50 minutes.



in 3 cups of rice milk, brown sugar,

and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and bring

to a lively simmer. Cook the ingredients,

stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir the

cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon of rice milk

into a small bowl until it becomes smooth;

add to the pudding. Afterward, continue

cooking, while making sure to stire often,

until the mixture reaches a consistency of

porridge. This will take about 10 minutes,

and once this is done, remove it from the



Follow up the previous step by

mashing two bananas into a small

bowl. Stir these mashed bananas and vanilla

into the pudding mixture. Once this is done,

transfer the ingredients into a large bowl,

place plastic wrap directly onto the surface,

and refrigerate until the puddng is cold,

which typically takes at least 2 hours.


The final step is include toppings for

the rice pudding. Before the dessert is

served, slice the remaining two bananas.

Make sure to top each serving with a few

slices of banana and sprinkle the top with

cinnamon as well.

Here is the finished product, topped with bananas

and cinnamon.


10 SPORTS Wed., April 28, 2021

Star class of 2021 athletes commit to college



Staff Writer, Sports Editor

As the final athletic season of the

year is underway with the start of

spring sports, many seniors are making

final decisions on where to continue

their education.

Across all Atoms sports, there are

many athletes who have been recruited

to continue playing their sport for

the next four years at various academic


Making a commitment to a college

is a huge deal. There are a lot of factors

that go into choosing where to pursue

commitment such as location, tuition,

competitiveness, and campus life.

“Virginia State was one of my dream

schools growing up so I always wanted

to go there. The fact that it was an

HBCU encouraged me to go,” senior

Prince Agyeman said.

Agyeman was the starting running

back for the atoms varsity football team.

He received first team All-District and

first team All-Region for his performance

this year.

Virginia State University is an

NCAA Division II school. The school is

also an HBCU, which stands for historically

black colleges and universities.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my

new team and the new environment,”

Agyeman said.

As the school year comes to an end,

the seniors can reflect on all of the memories

that they have made throughout

their high school career.

“I will miss playing with the kids I

grew up with my whole life. It’s crazy

how your friends from little league and

elementary school are your teammates

in high school. Watching them get better

and grow over time is fun to watch,”

senior Danny Salisbury said.

Salisbury plays football, baseball,

and basketball at the varsity level, but

ultimately decided to commit to Marymount

University to play baseball.

Marymount is a NCAA Division III


“My dad has always loved watching

me play. Marymount is right down

the street and he can come whenever he

wants to watch me play,” Salisbury said.

Many athletes who have played

at Annandale have enjoyed the Atom

atmosphere and culture.

“The most I will miss about high

school is playing on Friday nights, the

atmosphere is just great. I’ll miss that,”

senior Orlando Torres said.

Torres committed to Wilson College,

a private college in Pennsylvania, to

play baseball. Wilson college is a NCAA

Division III school.

While in high school, these seniors

had to do a lot when it came to the

recruiting process. The recruiting process

is a long process, where student

athletes try to do whatever they can to

get noticed by scouts and coaches.

“My recruitment process started

freshman year when I attended ID clinics.

During sophomore year, I communicated

with coaches. I communicated

through email with the Ferrum coach

and I sent out highlight videos. My next

step was a phone call with the coach.

After talking with the coach I scheduled

a campus visit. While walking around

the campus I knew Ferrum was the

right fit. After I was accepted into the

school, I verbally committed,” senior

Madison Cruz said.

Cruz plays for the women’s varsity

soccer team. She is committed to go

to Ferrum College, which is an NCAA

Division III school located in Ferrum,


“I am most looking forward to competing

at the next level and playing

against former teammates. I also am

looking forward to continuing the progress

I have made as a person both on

and off the field,” Cruz said.

These seniors have a bright future

ahead of them and, and we all wish

them the best of luck throughout the

rest of their academic and athletic


Danny Sailsbury, a three-sport athlete, commits to Marymount


Prince Agyeman, a varsity football player, commits to Virginia


Madison Cruz, a varsity soccer player, commits to Ferrum College.

Baseball team prepares for season opener


Staff Writer

On April 28, Atoms baseball will

finally return as the boys suit up for

their first matchup against Woodson.

It is safe to say that this upcoming

game is long awaited as a lengthy preseason

had taken place between February

to March along with a number of


In addition, practice for the season

opener was aided with many other practices

through the format of green days,

which have taken place throughout the

school year.

Since the school year began, the

baseball team participated in a short

season beginning in August under the

team name: Annandale Isotopes.

The brief period for tryouts in early

April, greatly helped coaches to solidify

thir rosters and make choices as to

where they should place incoming freshmen

and new players.

Overall, baseball has a total of 12

regular season games before the District

Quarterfinals on June 5. The entire

regular season will span just under a

month for those 12 scheduled games.

Changes in mask rules during games

have not been further implemented

despite the increase of a vaccinated population,

especially within the Annandale


Furthermore, social distancing rules

will still apply to athletes within competition.


Staff Writer

Following the conclusion of the

cross-country season with its Occoquan

Regional Championship meet on April

15, many athletes immediately entered

the period of spring sports through their

participation in spring track.

However, this upcoming track season

will be a number of students’ first

time running since the winter sports


The boys and girls track teams are

scheduled to participate in their first

meet of the season, hosted by Annandale

on Mon., April 26 at 5 p.m. against

Hayfield Secondary School.

This first meet will be quite unique

for the track teams participating due to

the rare occasion that Annandale will be

hosting the meet.

Meets tend to be hosted by schools

containing bleachers around a track in

order to provide a proper capacity needed

for athletes and coaches to set up.

Since Annandale does not have bleachers

surrounding its track, the Atoms

have not hosted a track meet in recent


“I believe the meet will go very well

for us since we are running on our home

track for the first time ever,” senior distance

runner Bennett Stenberg said.

Additionally, hayfield has announced

the poor condition of their field lights,

prompting the competition to instead be

hosted by the Atoms.

“It will be interesting because I have

never experienced a meet at Annandale.

The sprinting team is in decent

Varsity player T.J. Hutnan practices his fielding during preseason training.

“Basically, wearing a mask is a strict

rule to keep the team and the community

safe. The Isotopes’ season in the fall

was a lot more laid back because we did

not really know the effects of COVID

well,” senior and varsity fielder T.J.

Hutnan said.

There are other positive effects of the

season being pushed back besides the

extra time used for more practices and

scrimmages to create a more prepared


Since the season has been made

shorter under the VHSL season schedule,

varsity coach Christopher Bagot

has emphasized the importance of productive

practice between games during

the regular season.

Most of these games during the regular

season are only a few days apart, so

a proper recovery between games will be


As for the varsity squad, all players

are either juniors or seniors, meaning

that the team has multiple years of

experience on the field with each other.

Coach Bagot has seen this and is

excited for the success that the team will

have this short season.

“I am excited for the season, this will

be the most talented team I have been

the head coach of in my five years,”

Bagot said.

Freshman Colin McGee, a player on

the junior varsity team, has expressed

his excitement for this upcoming season,

Track team hopes for a successful season

shape, our strongest race will probably

be our 4x400 or other relays” sophomore

sprinter Miles Lanham said.

Unfortunately, there are only four

regular season meets scheduled for

the Atoms including the opening meet

at Hayfield, which will serve as senior

night for Atoms track and field.

“I feel upset since it is my last year

being a high school athlete, but I’ve had

so much fun over the last few years

being with the team,” senior distance

runner Nick Salazar said.

Since the departure and retirement

of boys cross-country coach Dave Ciccarelli,

Coach Ryan Willis will continue

his role as head coach for distance track

in addition to his coaching responsibilities

for cross-country.

Coach Phil Harris has been a track

coach at Annandale for over twenty

years. He coaches the girls distance

team and the sprinting team along with

coach Julian Scarbrough.

“Our team consists of mainly underclassmen

for both boys and girls track,

working extremely hard. The number

of athletes are down due to COVID and

virtual learning, but our relay teams

should be in the top 3 of the conference

for both boys and girls,” Harris said.

Although the roster numbers are

slightly down this year, there is still a

lot of hope for success in every event

both on the track and in the field events.

“We have the returning conference

and regional champion in shot and disc.

We expect the same performance this

year. Due to all the challenges we have

experienced this year, I am excited to

have a team of motivated athletes that

will give it their all,” Harris said.

Now I’m getting

a chance to

hang out with

players I have

known since

my freshman year as well as

assist with the improvement

of new players on the team.”


Varsity distance runner Mousa Ayoub runs the 4x800 race during the regional

championship meet at West Springfield during the winter season this year.

which will be his second with the atoms

this school year.

“We are grateful for the season we

have, but a shorter season impacts

pitchers and hitters because they have

less time to get a normal amount of

reps in compared to a regular season.”

McGee said.

Along with the varsity team, the

junior varsity team is hopeful for a successful

season as it has stood strong

throughout many stages of preparation.

“We have lots of potential this year

with a powerful roster, and with our

strong mentality, we are looking to do

some damage,” McGee said

Since this season is so short, coach

Bagot has asserted a strong mentality to

play as well as possible during the shortened


“It will turn the high school baseball

season into a real sprint to the finish.

We are going to focus on what we can do

now and try to stay in the moment...we

can’t look ahead or behind,” Bagot said.

Considering his experienced team,

Bagot envisions what constitutes a successful

season this year.

“This year, we are hoping the team

gives out beatings on our way to a district

championship. We had the best

off season we ever had, we are going to

keep our minds on what we can control

now and have a season filled with great

experiences,” said Bagot.

Opening games/meets:

Boys Tennis:

4-5 loss vs Park View on 4/22

0-9 loss vs West Potomac on 4/23

Girls Tennis:

6-3 Win vs Park View on 4/21

Vs. TC Williams on 4/27 @ AHS

Boys Soccer:

Vs. TJ on 4/27 @TJHS

Vs. West Potomac on 4/30 @WPHS

Girls Soccer:

Vs. TJ on 4/27 @AHS

Vs. West Potomac on 4/30 @AHS

Boys Lacrosse:

Vs. Justice on 4/26 @JHS

Vs. TJ on 4/28 @AHS

Girls Lacrosse:

Vs. Justice on 4/26 @AHS

Vs. TJ on 4/28 @TJHS


Vs. Woodson on 4/28 @ WHS

Vs. Chantilly on 4/30 @AHS


Vs. Washington Lee on 4/27 @WLHS

Vs. Hernond on 4/30 @AHS

Wed., April 28, 2021


AHS students celebrate Ramadan


International Editor

Many Muslim students at AHS

are currently celebrating the month of


So far, Ramadan is going well for a

lot of these students.

“My Ramadan is going great! Even

though it’s very different this year, I’m

trying to make the most of my time,”

senior Anjum Ashraf said

“My Ramadan is going great! Since

I don’t have to physically go to school, I

get more sleep than I would if I had to go

to school,” senior Novera Hasnat said.

“I also have more time to spend reading

the Quran or praying and preparing for

Iftar with my family.”

This year, Ramadan began at

sundown on April 12th and will end at

sundown on May 12th.

“I really like Ramadan because it

really distinguishes a part of the year

from the rest and generally it feels more

calm,” senior Mousa Ayoub said.

Eid al-Fitr, a day that marks the end

of the month-long fasting for Ramadan

with a feast, will take place the following


Ramadan is celebrated to mark

the time when Allah, the Islam God,

revealed the first verses of the Quran,

Islam’s holy book, to the Prophet


One very well known tradition of

Ramadan is fasting from sunrise to

sundown of each day of the month.

“It is a great lesson for self-discipline

as we have to refrain ourselves from

eating and drinking anything,” Hasnat


However, aside from fasting, there

are many other wonderful traditions.

Ramadan offers an opportunity

for students to spend time with their

family, friends, and people from the


“I have a really big family, so one of

our main traditions is to stay over at

Senior Anjum Ashraf breaks her fast with her little sister during iftar with a banana smoothie and pasta.

our cousins’ houses during Ramadan,”

Ashraf said. “When we’re together, we

stay up until suhoor (the meeting before

fasting) and just spend time with each


Students are also able to enjoy

delicious cultural foods during iftar, the

time after sunset when people can break

their fast and eat.

“We have some certain foods that we

always eat during Iftar, such as peyaju

(blended lentil, onions, and sliced pepper

mixed together and fried), tandoori

chicken, and haleem (a very flavorful

soup including meat and a mixture of

various lentils),” Hasnat said.

Another tradition that many

students practice is praying.

“This month pushes me to pray more

and try to be closer to Allah,” Hasnat

said. “It helps me to learn patience,

and also purifies our souls as we have

to restrain from doing anything that is

considered bad.”

Due to the pandemic, a number of

the traditions that students do in other

years are put on hold.

“My favorite Ramadan tradition is

having iftar at our local Mosque. It’s

always really fun to set everything up

with friends and break our fasts with

the community,” Ashraf said. “Of course,

we can’t partake in that tradition this

year because of COVID.”

“Sometimes we would buy Iftar from

outside, which we have stopped doing

[due to the pandemic],” Hasnat said.

For some students, however, the

pandemic hasn’t changed much for

them in terms of celebrating.

“I don’t really feel like the pandemic

has changed Ramadan much other than

having to move around less,” Ayoub


However, regardless of the pandemic

or not, it won’t stop students from fully

enjoying their Ramadan.


Around the world


Kenya believes that there is a

Covid-19 “vaccine apartheid”

happening. This all started

when London issued a travel

ban on east African nations.

Kenya saw this as a matter

of discrimination. They feel

like the vaccine-producing

countries are being possessive

and discriminating, while

practicing vaccine nationalism.


The Japanese government

has recently announced that it

will begin releasing 1 million

metric tons of radioactive

water that comes from its

wrecked Fukushima nuclear

plant into the Pacific Ocean.

This announcement has

raised much concern from

fishermen and neighboring

countries. The prime minister

believes that disposing this

water is important in order

to decommission the nuclear


In Montreal, people are

protesting the recent

curfew put in place after a

huge increase in cases was

seen from the reopening

and capacity increases of

businesses. The curfew begins

at 8 p.m. every night. The

protesters are gathering to

protest against the curfew and

for more freedoms.

Ramadan Traditions

Cooking cultural


Similar to any ethnic celebration

event, during Ramadan, cooking

cultural foods is a tradition that

every household does. Some of the

many traditional dishes that people

like to cook are fattoush salads,

beguni (slices eggplants dipped

in gram flour or besan and fried),

and pide bread. The many dishes

that are cooked during the day are

eaten at Iftar.


Having Iftar


Iftar is the meal eaten after sunset

to break one’s fast and to replenish

energy. During Ramadan, many

people will have iftar parties where

they invite friends and family to

come enjoy Iftar with them. These

parties offer an opportunity for

everyone to socialize and enjoy

each other’s company. People are

also able to enjoy delicious foods at

these parties too.


Goings to


Mosques are always packed full

during the month of Ramadan.

After sunset, many people from the

community will gather in mosque

and break their fast together over

a meal. Many also go there to

pray at night. Additional prayers,

called Taraweeh, are also offered at

mosque at night. Some people go to

mosque as frequent as daily during



Doing good deeds

to help others

During Ramadan, it is a common

tradition for people to do good

deeds. Some good deeds that

people do to help others are paying

zakat (donating to charities),

volunteering their time, sharing

food with others for Iftar, and

paying visit to the sick or lonely.

During this month, some believe

that the rewards for good deeds are



Breaking fast by

eating dates

A tradition that many Muslims do

during every day of Ramadan is

they will break their fast by eating

one or three dates. The reason for

this is the prophet Mohammad

used to break his fasts with dates

too, so Muslims do this to follow his

sunnah (the ways of the prophet).

If someone does not have any dates

to break their fast with, they would

instead drink water.


Immigrant stories: coming to America

Junior Uyen Huynh emigrates from Vietnam to the United States


International Editor

I immigrated to the United States

with my parents in 2008.

I was born in Vietnam and lived there

for about five years before we moved here.

One of the reasons why my parents

decided to immigrate was to be closer to


My grandparents and uncles on my

mom’s side had immigrated to the U.S.

right after the Vietnam War.

However, my mom couldn’t immigrate

with them due to document issues, so she

stayed in Vietnam by herself.

After she married my dad and had me,

she wanted to move to Virginia so that

she could see her parents and brothers

more often.

Even though I got to come live near

my mom’s side of the family, it meant

that I had to leave my dad’s side of the

family behind since they were still in


I was devastated because I knew I

wouldn’t be able to see them every day

like I used to do.

I still remember he details of the day I

left Vietnam very clearly.

My grandparents and aunts on my

dad’s side came with us to the airport to

see us off.

I remember seeing my grandma being

very sad as she said her good-byes to me.

At that time, I didn’t get why she was

sad since I was too little to understand

that we would be permanently leaving


I thought we were just taking a trip to

visit other family.

When I got off the plane in the U.S., I

remember being super happy to see my

other grandma.

I was also excited because I was

witnessing a new country for the first


We immigrated during winter, so the

day we arrived I was able to see snow for

the first time.

I started school soon after we arrived.

I didn’t know a single word of English,

so navigating through preschool was a

little tough.

However, since I was still very young,

I was able to pick up the language super


I also struggled with getting use to the

new foods and lifestyle in America.

I was so used to eating Vietnamese

foods that I didn’t want any American


My first year in America wasn’t the

greatest because I got very homesick and

missed my old life.

In Vietnam, people are very social and

would leave their homes to walk to the

markets or to the parks every day, and

since I couldn’t do that here, I felt very


The challenges of adjusting also made

me want to go back to Vietnam even


However, after the first year, I got a

little more used to things so the feelings of

wanting to go home went away.

Since then, I have fully adapted to life

here in the U.S. and I love it.

I now love the food and it feels like


I have made many new friends who I

enjoy hanging out with.

At school, I participate in many

extracurricular activities, such as Green

Atoms, Just World, National Honor

Society, and more.

Even though I’m not begging my

parents to move back to Vietnam

anymore, I still do get homesick from time

to time.

Ever since I immigrated, I haven’t

been back to visit once, which is really


I plan on taking a trip there the

summer after I graduate to visit family


Junior Uyen Huynh (left) spends the evening in Washington D.C.

with her friends.


12 ENTERTAINMENT Wed., April 28, 2021

BROCKHAMPTON drops another solid album



MACHINE proves

the band once again


Staff Writer

The self-proclaimed “best boyband

since One Direction” is back once again.

After dropping their nearly perfect

Saturation trilogy over six months in

2017, I, and many others, instantly fell

in love with the group’s raw, cohesive

energy, witty lines, and diverse, layered


From mid-paced, window-rattling

bangers like “Heat” and “Boogie” to

sweeter, RnB cuts like “Bleach”, all

the way to straight-up alt/indie-rock

ballads like “Summer” and “Waste”,

every song is well written, wellperformed,

and unique. Trying to cover

these albums would take me all day,

but they are a must-listen for every

music fan.

The next couple of years, however,

would prove more challenging for

the collective. Amidst the dramatic

exit of one of the group’s key

members, Ameer Vann, as well

as mounting personal issues, and

sudden fame, BROCKHAMPTON

dropped Iridescence a pretty solid,

if inconsistent, record. Iridescence

feels like two separate albums, with

a glitchy, angry, and rawer sound on

its harder tracks like “New Orleans”

and “Jouvert”, and a soft, depressed,

poppier side on tracks like “San

Marcos” and “Tonya”. This album was

off the wall, and looked how the group’s

headspace at the time must have been;

confusing, dark, and paranoid.

While Iridescence is their weakest

album, in my opinion, it’s still more

than decent, and extremely interesting.

2019’s Ginger was the group’s

softest and most consistent album

to date. Most tracks have a somber,

reflective tone, and a great deal of this

album deals in the poppier sounds


experimented with.

Aside from a few bangers like “Boy

Bye” and “St. Percy”, Ginger is a sad,

moody, and soberingly reflective album,

that houses everything from the tearjerking

Ameer expose on “Dearly

Departed”, to the danceable grooves

and earworm chorus on “Sugar”

Ginger is great, especially if

depressing pop and RnB music is your


Finally, we land at the longanticipated

Roadrunner; New Light,

New Machine, which feels like it’s

bringing a ‘new light’ to the boyband’s


Roadrunner feels like a brand new

chapter for the band, one without the

drama of their previous two records,

and one where they embrace new,

exciting sounds.

The opening track/ lead single

“Buzzcut” presented electrifying

energy, with blistering production, a

great guest verse from Danny Brown,

and a soulful ending. “Buzzcut” seems

to me like an extension of the sounds

of Iridescence, only with less awkward

songwriting, production, and deliveries.

This track was an amazing teaser and

an even better opener.“Buzzcut” does a

great job of starting this record off with

a loud bang.

The following “Chain On” is a

rapid change of pace, with a dusty,

vintage instrumental, tons of reverb, a

summary bassline, and a surprisingly

lowkey and infectious chorus.

This track features a solid

verse from underground legend

JPEGMAFIA, but the real stunner

is Dom Mclennons eye-opening

final verse, which is impressively

entertaining and socially conscious.

This record sees

BROCKHAMPTON diving into some

of the grimiest sounds they ever have,

with plenty of nods to the worlds

of Wu-Tang, Three Six Mafia, and

especially OutKast.

The track “Bankroll” is one of the

group’s most direct and satisfying

bangers to date, with a moody, traplaced

instrumental, amazing verses

from A$AP Ferg and Merlyn, and an

extremely catchy chorus featuring

A$AP Rocky.

The song “Windows” is one

of many that features the artist

Sogonesoflexy, who fits effortlessly into

the BROCKHAMPTON roster, stands

at over six minutes in length, features

every member, and is supremely dark.

The Southern hip-hop flare the

group gave this song is complimented

perfectly by the raw verses brought by

every member here, and this track feels

like one from Saturation II with a more

mature twist.

The songs “The Light” and “Don’t

Shoot Up the Party” are very quickly

becoming some of my favorite tracks

in the group’s entire discography, with

the former being hard-hitting, guitarlaced,

confessional opus in the style of a

classic 90’s boom-bap banger.

Joba and Kevin bring some of the

hardest, most personal, and saddest

lines of the entire album on this track,

with Joba dealing with his father’s

suicide, and Kevin reflecting on his

family and homosexuality.

The bridge on this song gives me

chills, with Jobas soaring, haunting,

almost God-like vocals creeping in on

top of an eerie synth line.

This short bridge is one of the best

moments on the record with interesting

production choices, tight drum fills, and

an incredible vocal presence.

“Don’t Shoot Up the Party” is by

far the darkest moment on the record,

with a stark, subtle intro, accompanied

by an unapologetic verse that quickly

evolves into an undeniably catchy

chorus, full of raging, messy synths,

danceable one-two drums, and shouted,

pleading vocals from Kevin, soaked in

heartbreaking desperation.

All of this, along with an amazing

verse from Matt and disturbing outro,

make this track an instant classic.

The track “When I Ball” features

production from The Neptunes, and is

a fairly straightforward and sweet hip

hop track about childhood dreams and


The hook is sweet and enjoyable,

and overall this track is pretty solid,

just not necessarily one of the standouts

for me. While the production is pretty

and the verses are solid, this track is

just missing something for me.

“What’s The Occasion” is a

very simple track with a gorgeous,

harrowing chorus from Joba, a gently

plucked guitar, and an arena-sized


While being pretty self-explanatory,

the execution of this song is amazing,

and it reminded me a lot of “Cash” off of

Saturation, just far more somber.

Though there are very few missteps

on Roadrunner, the album does

somewhat falter when it comes to its

poppier songs.

While good as a single, I rarely find

myself returning to the track “Count

On Me”. With its peppy guitar licks,

feel-good attitude, lovesick lyrics, and

somewhat saccharine Ryan Beatty

chorus, this track should have all of the

qualities to make another mega-hit like

“Bleach” or “Sugar”, but the cohesion

and focused verses are just not there to

make this song as good as those two.

While no song on this album is bad,

this s one of the weaker ones.

The tracks “Old News” and “I’ll Take

You On” are both in a similar camp

as“Count On Me”..

While I appreciate the verses and

production on “Old News”, Baird’s’

overly processed chorus, riddled with

generic lyrics and a boring melody,

is the only moment on the album I

would call legitimately bad. “I’ll Take

You On” is a romantic, danceable

piece of soulful pop music, complete

with a Charlie Wilson feature.

While I love the 90’s boy band-

Esque chorus and the break-beat

rhythms on this song, Charlie Wilson

feels more like an afterthought, and

the verses could have used some work.

Roadrunners’ final leg is among its

strongest. The stunning “Dear Lord”

is a gorgeous interlude that features

tight harmonies, gorgeous singing,

and a faint piano towards the end.

The track feels equally Frank

Ocean and gospel choir and does a

great job at setting the tone for the

finisher, ‘“The Light Pt.II”.

This track is a deeply emotional

dive into the issues that Kevin and

Joba discussed on “The Light” but is

much more somber.

The ominous, whispered repetition

of “The light is worth the wait, why

did you do it?” hits like an emotional

powerhouse, especially in the context

of Joba’s father’s suicide. “The Light

Pt. II” is an extremely tight ending

that closes the album perfectly.

While Roadrunner; New Light,

New Machine is not my favorite

BROCKHAMPTON album to date,

it’s up there.

Make no mistake, this is an

insanely impressive return to form

for the group, and while some tracks

are weaker than others, this album is

amazing overall.

If you’re even a little bit interested

in alternative hip hop, pop, or RnB,

do not let this album, or anything

BROCKHAMPTON does, fly under

your radar.

New Netflix show, Shadow and Bone, impresses


Staff Writer

The Shadow and Bone series

premiered on Netflix on Friday, April

23, and released eight episodes of the

book trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

The story follows Alina StarKov who

is a soldier from Ravka who discovers

that she is a Sun Summoner and can

bend light.

She tries to use her ability to

overpower the Fold which is smokey

darkness that borders Ravka and

contains mystical creatures known as

the Volca.

There were three or four different

storylines throughout the series and

from the beginning, it started fastpaced

and did not explain what was


This made it confusing to follow

what was going on for the first few

episodes especially for viewers who are

unfamiliar with the book series.

Throughout the series we don’t get

much of a backstory about the Grisha

verse besides a few flashbacks scenes,

so, I would recommend getting a basic

understanding of the story before


It was a little bit difficult to

continue watching in the beginning

but, after a few episodes, I was hooked.

Because multiple things were going

on such as threats, interrogation, and

blackmailing, I was intrigued and didn’t

get bored of watching.

Although I am not a big fan of

fantasy and magic in tv shows, this

series exceeded my expectations and

left me wanting more.

Intense music was played

throughout almost the entire series

which made it more dramatic and

caused angst. This added a lot to the

film and made me more anxious as I

was watching.

The show did have a lot of fighting

scenes which were enjoyable to watch

but was graphic and some of the sound

effects were a bit excessive which made

the fighting scenes seem unrealistic.

The show is similar to the book

series with only a few changes here

and there. One of the many admirable

things about it was that even though

there were still a lot of characters.

They were all widely diverse

and were inclusive in race, gender,

sexuality, and religion.

The sets and costumes were

captivating and added so much to

the story especially because the

cinematography wasn’t like any other

series on Netflix that I had seen before.

What made the show more enjoyable

was watching the relationship progress

between Inej, Jesper, and Kaz as they

continued their sarcastic and witty

banter throughout the multiple heists

that occurred.

Their roles were perfectly cast as

they were just as I had imagined them

to be.

The friendships that were built as

the story progressed were no doubt

one of the most alluring parts of the

series. Seeing Mattias and Nina turn

from enemies to close friends and

then watching their betrayal was

enticing especially because of how their

relationship left off.

I think the casting was perfect,

especially Jessie Mei Lei(Alina Starkov)

and Ben Barnes because they made the

characters come to life and made me

feel attached to the story as a whole.

Ben Barnes who played the

Darkling captured the essence of being

the villain and made the viewers loathe

his character.

While we also got to see some great

character development from the main

character as she was a soft-spoken,

gullible young girl and became a fierce,


and powerful character towards

the end who ended up saving many


There were only eight episodes and

the season ended with a cliffhanger,

so I was left sitting on the edge of my

seat anticipating what was going to

happen next. I am hoping that we will

get to see another season sometime


I highly recommend watching this

show if you enjoy fantasy or young

adult films. If you are just looking for

a show to binge on Netflix, then this is

also the show for you.

Taylor Swift’s

“new” album

is a smash hit



Staff Writers

Taylor Swift is not unfamiliar with

the music industry. Recently she just

released a re-recorded version of her

old album ‘Fearless’, because Scooter

Braun, who is also currently Justin

Bieber’s manager, wouldn’t let her use

her music.

She signed a contract at 15 that

made a deal with Scott Borchetta’s

record label company that gave them

ownership of her music.

Borchetta sold the company to

Scooter Braun, which gave Scooter

Braun ownership of Swift’s recordings.

She had to go through court to win

back ownership of her older albums,

from 2006’s Taylor Swift to 2017’s Reputation

and she has to re-record them

in her version now.

Many Swifties are guessing that

1989 will be the next album to get rerecorded,

but it probably won’t be anytime


Along with releasing Fearless (Taylor’s

Version), in April 2021, she also

added a few unheard tracks on the

album, such as ‘You All Over Me, ‘Mr.

Perfectly Fine’, ‘That’s When’, and ‘We

Were Happy’.

The album contains 26 tracks, and

here are some must listen to tracks off

the rerecorded album.

In February we were given the classic

hit, “Love Story”. I loved this version!

It’s amazing, and you can blast it

in your car with friends, or in your room

when you’re getting ready.

“Love Story” is a super fun, up-tempo

Country pop hybrid, full of Taylor’s

usual charm. This mega-hit sounds

even better with its brand new recording.

“White Horse (Taylors version)”, is

a stunning ‘getting over them’ song. It

just makes you feel the emotions that

Taylor Swift was meaning to put out


Lyrics like “I’m not a princess, this

ain’t a fairytale” .“I was a dreamer

before you went and let me down” really

illustrate the message of this song.

“You Belong with Me (Taylors version)”

is another one of those songs I’d

blast in the car with my friends, or in

my room, when I relate to the lyrics.

With super sweet vocal passages

and a catchy hook, it’s no wonder why

this song was a radio smash.

“Breathe (Taylors version)” makes

me miss someone I don’t even know by

using heart-breaking lyrics and a gentle


The chorus and verses are simple

but effective, and Colbie Caillat’s parts

are stunning.

“Tell me Why (Taylors version)”

explains the feeling of finally seeing

someone for who they truly are, and not

being blinded because of liking them

anymore, themes that are echoed on the


“Forever and Always (Taylors version)”

is a classic story about loving

someone, them giving you expectations,

then them leaving you heartbroken.

This song is laced with peppy guitars

and layered percussion, this song feels

strangely danceable.

Later in the tracklist, we are treated

to a wildly different version using

a piano, where Taylor takes the track

much slower and more seriously. Both

are amazing for entirely different reasons.

“Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version)”

is an anthem for unrequited

love. Gently twanging guitars, one-two

drums, and a spacey atmosphere, this

track is a real standout.

This heartbreaking story sees Taylor

get rejected, only for the man who

rejects her to go on and have a great

love life while Taylor struggles, which

ties up very well with the following

“Don’t You (Taylor’s Version).”

Seeing someone you had a relationship

with in the past, but they’ve moved

on, and you still love them. “Don’t you

say you’ve missed me when you don’t

want me again”?

Many fans are hyped about the

bonus tracks, and almost everyone

aware of the situation between Taylor

and her old record label is making

sure to only listen to the ‘Taylor’s Version’


Overall, I’d say this was a really

good album and the bonus tracks pulled

the album together and added something


The way Taylor Swift handled her

situation was also really mature and I

would recommend listening to Fearless

(Taylor’s Version).

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